Alexander Gustafsson's Injury: 5 Replacement Options If Gustafsson Can't Go
Alexander Gustafsson put quite a charge into an otherwise quiet Easter Sunday news cycle when MMA fans and media learned his April 6 main event bout at UFC on Fuel 9 was in serious jeopardy. A translation by MMAMania of a report from Swedish-language site Kimura.se revealed the light heavyweight contender sustained a cut while training for his fight with Gegard Mousasi. At the moment, his status for Saturday—that would be the Saturday that happens five days from now—is uncertain.
Complicating matters is the fact that Gustafsson, a Swede, was expected to more or less carry the entire UFC on Fuel 9 event, which is taking place in Stockholm.
For the moment, the MMA world awaits word on whether Gustafsson will be able to go. In the meantime, how about some wild speculation to pass the time? I say yes. I always say yes. Here are five possibilities that, to me, make sense as replacements for Gustafsson in a fight against Mousasi.
Undefeated light heavyweight Max "Power" Nunes (10-0) is currently signed to the BAMMA promotion. In fact, he just fought for them on March 9, collecting yet another TKO in the process.
Even better, though, the 24-year-old Nunes is Swedish, and is one of the more popular fighters in the country.
Mauricio Rua/Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
These two are set to face off in June, but both would add intrigue and big-name recognition to the Stockholm main event.
He might not be the sexiest or most accomplished choice, but when you're looking at sheer logistics, Tom Lawlor—who's already fighting at middleweight on the UFC on Fuel 9 card and began his career at 205—might be the easiest. There's also no question Lawlor would do everything in his power to put on a show.
For his part, Lawlor's more than willing to take on the load:
Ilir "The Sledgehammer" Latifi (7-2) is another Swedish bruiser currently working in the sport's minor leagues. He's an extremely strong wrestler riding a three-fight win streak, and he'd be a load for anyone, including Mousasi, to handle.
Phil Davis/Vinny Magalhaes
These two are currently set to consummate their long-simmering grudge at UFC 159. Could one or both be available to slide over for Saturday's card? Both are high-level light heavyweights, and both are presumably going full bore in their respective training camps.
For more wild speculation on this and various other MMA situations, follow Scott Harris on Twitter.