As many of Gunnar Nelson’s former opponents have found, if you hit the mat with the Icelander there is a very realistic chance that your night is about to end very quickly.
28-year-old Nelson has finished five of his six UFC victories by way of submission and in doing so has established strong credentials as one of the finest grapplers in the organisation’s 170-pound fold. The longtime teammate of Conor McGregor’s at SBG Ireland will next face Alan Jouban at UFC Fight Night 107 in London, an opponent also flirting with the top ten in an extremely competitive welterweight division and, in a new interview with MMAJunkie, Jouban says that in order to have success against Nelson, avoiding a grappling match is key.
“I feel confident on the ground, but at the same time I’m not going to play his game,” Jouban said. “If we go to the ground, I’m not going to try to play a chess match in jiu-jitsu where he always has the higher chance of winning against most guys in our division aside from, like, Demian Maia.”
Jouban was last seen in the cage where he outgunned the previously undefeated Mike ‘Platinum’ Perry last December in a match that went to the judges. Prior to that, Jouban finished three of his other five victories in the octagon by way of strikes.
Nels0n, though, is far from a novice on the feet and has outstruck heralded kickboxers Brandon Thatch and Albert Tumenov in recent bouts. Despite this evidence of Nelson’s well-roundedness, Jouban says he intends to keep the fight on the feet.
“You look at my record, 90 percent of my wins are from striking, 90 percent of my wins are from knockout,” Jouban explained. “I’m going to try to put the cards in my favor, he’s going to try to put the cards in his favor. If we go to the mat, I’m probably going to try to get the hell up. Maybe I’ll play some jiu-jitsu with him. But I’m not trying to give him any high percentages. I’m trying to favor my percentages and put the fight where I want to put it.”