(Image via DW’s Instagram)
UFC president Dana White has just confirmed that top light-heavyweight contenders Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson will fight at a Jan 24th UFC on FOX event at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. It is likely that this fight will serve as the headliner. If our math is correct, this is UFC on FOX 14 we’re talking about.
Gustafsson has been resting since his second-round TKO of Jimi Manuwa in March, which followed his Fight of the Year title bout loss to Jon Jones last September. “The Mauler” briefly considered skipping this bout and waiting for a title shot, but decided to take another fight while Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier gets sorted out. Anthony Johnson is 2-0 since returning to the UFC last year as a light-heavyweight, and was recently taken off an indefinite suspension related to domestic abuse allegations.
The UFC’s three previous Sweden events have all taken place at the 16,000-seat capacity Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm. The Tele2 is a multi-purpose stadium with a capacity of 30,000 and above. It seems like the UFC is hoping to break European attendance records with this show — which is interesting, because the attendance figures of the aforementioned Stockholm cards have steadily decreased, from a high of 15,428 fans at UFC on FUEL TV 2: Gustafsson vs Silva in April 2012, to 14,506 for Mousasi vs. Latifi in April 2013, to a mere 10,026 for Nelson vs. Story last month. Of course, getting Gustafsson back in a big fight will make for a great local draw. But can he pack an actual stadium? We’re about to find out.
Update: The UFC on FOX 14 main card will start at 8 p.m. ET, which is 2 a.m. local time in Stockholm. But I hear that Swedes love to spend all night in soccer stadiums. It’s definitely something that they do.