(Magnus Cedenblad highlight reel via zaihtaMHS. Head bussin’, head bussin’.)
After a six-week spring break, the UFC returns from hibernation this Saturday with their first-ever event in Sweden. UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson vs. Silva goes down at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, and will feature five local scrappers — red-hot light-heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson, the returning Papy Abedi (who lost his UFC debut to Thiago Alves), as well as three Sweden-based newcomers to help fill out the Facebook prelims. Meet the new guys below, and keep in mind that the six-fight Fuel TV main card will air live at 3 p.m. ET / noon PT.
MAGNUS “Jycken” CEDENBLAD (MW)
Experience: 10-6 record (9 wins by stoppage) with multiple appearances in the Superior Challenge and Vision Fighting Championship promotions. Last fight was an 88-second kimura victory over Dan Edwards in October 2011.
Will be facing: Francis Carmont (17-7, 1-0 UFC)
Lowdown: First of all, “Jycken” means “The Pooch.” A product of Stockholm’s Pancrase Gym, Cedenblad has recently been working out of AKA in San Jose. He started training six years ago because he wanted to learn how to kick like Cro Cop, but has become better known as a ground-and-pounder. As he told MMABay, ”My long term goal is to be ranked as a top five guy. I know that will happen. Just give me four years and then you will see me there.”
(Reza Madadi vs. Junie Browning, 5/1/10)
REZA “Mad Dog” MADADI (LW)
Experience: 11-2 record (six wins by submission) with multiple appearances in the Superior Challenge and Strike and Submit promotions. Holds notable victories over UFC veterans Junie Browning, Carlo Prater, and Rich Clementi; the win over Clementi earned Madadi Superior Challenge’s lightweight title last April.
Will be facing: Cuban newcomer Yoislandy Izquierdo (6-0, 0-0 UFC)
Lowdown: The Iranian-born Swedish prospect has been wrestling since he was 10 years old, and has since picked up various wrestling titles in Sweden. Madadi trains out of Hilti Stockholm alongside Papy Abedi and Per Eklund. He was originally supposed to make his UFC debut against Rafaello Oliveira at UFC on FX 1 in January, but both fighters had to withdraw due to injury. A BloodyElbow scouting report from 2010 says that Madadi is ”relentless in his attacks, sets up his takedowns well by mixing punches and knees in the clinch, and he fully commits to the takedown when he shoots…While he doesn’t possess crushing knockout power, he can be pretty effective in causing opponents to cover up and shooting for takedowns as they defend. His clinch skills work well in conjunction with that type of gameplan, and his footwork and quickness on the feet make him an absolute nightmare for anyone trying to gauge when he’ll shoot.”
(Besam Yousef vs. Joao Neves, 3/27/10)
BESAM YOUSEF (WW)
Experience: 6-0 record (four wins by first round stoppage), with all fights taking place for the Zone FC promotion in Gothenburg, Sweden. Last fight was an 84-second guillotine choke victory over Jason Ponet in May 2011.
Will be facing: Norwegian newcomer Simeon Thoresen (16-2-1, 0-0 UFC)
Lowdown: A member of the Gladius MMA Pro Team — where he was a former training partner of Alexander Gustafsson (shown cornering him in the above video) — Yousef is a Syrian-born Swede who’s reigned as the Zone FC welterweight champ since 2010. Though he’s recognized as an aggressive, well-rounded fight-finisher, he’s never fought anybody with a winning record, which isn’t an encouraging statistic going into a fight against Thoreson, an experienced and well-traveled protege of Joachim Hansen. He didn’t go to college, held no other jobs before his MMA career, and digs the arm-triangle and left hook.