Gunnar Nelson vs Rick Story set for UFC in Sweden

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The much anticipated headliner for the UFC’s return to Sweden is set. Icelandic website Visir.is first reported and it was later confirmed by the UFC that Icelandic star Gunnar Nelson will take on veteran American Rick Story to top the card.

Nelson, who trains under SBG Ireland’s John Kavanagh, last fought on July 19th at UFC Dublin beating Zak Cummings in the co-main event; and Story will be the first opponent for the Icelander in a main event slot.

Story is a long time UFC welterweight and is the only man to have beaten current UFC champion Johny Hendricks apart from Georges St-Pierre. Story’s last fight was a second round submission win over Leonardo Marfa on July 16th.

We spoke to Gunnar’s coach John Kavanagh to get his thoughts on the bout

“I believe Rick is a good journey man for Gunni to show why he’s in contention for the belt.

Can’t ignore the fact he has a win over the current champ, throws hard and has decent grappling.

I look forward to Gunni headlining a card and with a strong performance I hope this pushes him into the picture for challenging the champion.”

Gunnar Nelson said to UFC.com: “To headline a card in Sweden is huge for me. They are our neighbours and one of my favourite fighters is of course from Sweden (No. 1 ranked light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson).

“I expect the Swedish crowd to be pretty loud. I believe I have a big fan base in Sweden. They love my kind of style of fighting and I am of course Scandinavian, so we have a good connection. Overall I think it’s going to be a great night – I am really excited about this opportunity.

“Rick Story has fought many of the best fighters. He beat the current champion and he is very experienced and is a very good wrestler. He is a tough opponent and I am happy to be fighting him.

“Now I will head straight into training. I plan to go to Las Vegas to train with Conor and to help him prepare for his fight, and then I will most likely go to Sweden from there.

“I am honoured to fight in Sweden and to headline this card.”

Rick Story said to UFC.com “Oh man this is a really exciting match up. Stylistically it’s going to be great because Gunnar is a grappler and an attacker. When it comes to fighting, you can’t ask for more than that – someone who attacks and comes at you. As soon as I found out I started to watch his fights, I still have the Dublin fight to watch.

“I have fought in Germany before but it will be my first time in Stockholm so I am looking forward to seeing the city. My schedule now will be to pack up, leave Vancouver, Washington where I am at the moment and head down to Arizona to the MMA Lab to start training. I’m really excited for this fight!”

Story (17-8) is a strong wrestler who isn’t afraid to trade on the feet and will pose the toughest test of jiu-jitsu prodigy Nelson’s (14-0-1) career to date. The fight is scheduled to take place on October 4th in Stockholm.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma