By Elias Cepeda
(I have seen the future of Swedish MMA and it is pale, polite and packs a nasty uppercut)
No one really disappointed in the UFC’s first ever event in Sweden Saturday. Swedish headliner Alexander Gustafsson won an entertaining and technical stand-up striking battle against Thiago Silva. For his part, Silva was coming off of a one-year suspension from a failed drug test and was a late replacement for Antonio Rogerio Nogueira but found success in spots throughout the fight and never stopped pushing the pace and coming forward, no matter how much damage he took.
It’s always fun to see what crowds in new UFC territory are like and the Swedish fans proved to be a pleasing combination. Think the soccer chants of British and Brazilian fans with the polite appreciation of Japanese fans (but slightly louder). When one of their own won, they roared. When one of theirs lost, they applauded the victor for their honest effort. Old dad was on the scene last week and did a great job writing about Swedish attitudes.
As he wrote, Silva was initially one of the few people to get booed in Sweden. But that had more to do with his assumed steroid use than his nationality. And by the end of his strong-willed battle against Gustafsson, the Swedish fans cheered Silva for his aggression.