From Stockholm Syndrome to The Canadian Psycho
Last weekends UFC Fight Night double header was a rich vein and heres what captured the Birdseye.
To start with, UFC Fight Night – Nelson vs Story gets my vote for a sublime demonstration of how unpredictable the fight business can be. The UFC visited Europe for the fourth time in 2014 and Stockholm, Sweden, was the scene for a main card of upsets. In fact there was very little for the partisan Swedish crowd to cheer about as Nordic fighters dropped like flys.
In what might be called a new form of ‘Stockholm syndrome’, the crowd became highly disillusioned long before the main event as their main card fighters fell to 3 consecutive KO/TKO losses. Most notably Mike Wilkinson’s stunning knockout of Niklas Backstrom. The sight of Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson cageside did nothing to snuff the negatitive spiral in mood.
In the main event Iceland’s Gunner ‘Gunni’ Nelson was expected to dominate American Rick ‘Horror’ Story, however a rejuvenated Story was the real story as he notched a 5 round split decision victory over the welterweight prospect.
Nelson trains with John Kavanagh’s SBG Ireland and is a team-mate of Conor ‘Notorious’ MacGregor. It must have been difficult camp, as Kavanagh was stateside for UFC 178 and the previous week, as seen watching Mark Hunt vs Roy Nelson in Dana White’s office on UFC 178 Embedded. Not a good few weeks for fighters with the surname of Nelson!
Unlike previous visits to Sweden in 2012 and 2013 the Ericsson Globe Arena was not filled to capacity, down a few thousand bums on seats, at just over 10,000 spectators. The one-eyed fan base can be forgiven for not turning out in their droves, but according to Gustafsson, the crowds reaction to the losses by the Nordic fighters was blatantly wrong. In a blog on his Mauler App he chastised them for not understanding the sport and the sacrifices each fighter made.
What could be more noteworthy than 10,000 disappionted Swede’s, well fight fans didn’t have to wait long as UFC Fight Night – MacDonald vs Saffiedine Fight Pass prelims began immediately and thereafter witnessed a virtuoso performace by Rory ‘Ares’ Macdonald against Belgian Tarec ‘Sponge’ Saffiedine.
Rory MacDonald sold out the The Halifax Metro Centre, Nova Scotia, and delivered on his pre-fight promise of ‘fireworks’. The ultra talented 25 year old silenced his critics by KOing Saffiedine in the third round and is set to face the winner of Johnny Hendrick vs Robbie Lawler for his shot at the welterweight belt in 2015.
Rory MacDonald is a very plausible psychopath with his weird mild mannered exterior thinly veiling an iron determination that he is destined to be the the UFC champ. His unnerving stare and emotional detachment all preserve this perception, leading fans to speculate where around the Tristar Gym he keeps the dead bodies. Too bad ‘The Canadian Psycho’ moniker is already taken.
Stay tuned for more content in the run in to UFC 179 and MMA Birdseye will be on the ground at UFN 55 in Sydney, Australia.
(Slider image credit: guardianlv.com/Justin Huffman)