Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson set for Sweden main event in January

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After a litany of setbacks including injury and suspension, Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson have finally put pen to paper on a fight. The pair will meet at the Tele2 Arena in Gustafsson’s home country of Sweden on January 24th. The news was confirmed by the UFC today.

Johnson (18-4) was a standout performer in the upstart world series of fighting following a rocky UFC career where he toiled at the lower divisions trying to make weight before finding his true home at 205 pounds. He quickly returned to the UFC and has put on career best performances against Phil Davis and Antonio Nogueira since. Unfortunately, Johnson’s future was then put into doubt as he was suspended by the UFC following allegations of domestic violence. But, after he was freed from charges last week, Johnson is now clear to fight.

In a UFC press release Johnson said: “I’m not intimidated by fighting in front of Alex’s hometown fans. I’m going to go in there and look for the knockout like I do in all of my fights. I can’t wait for this!”

Initially, Gustafsson (16-2) looked like he wouldn’t take this fight after losing out on a title shot through injury and subsequently the red hot feud between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones which has been extended into the new year following another injury to the champion. But, the Swede has had a change of heart and will take on one of the most dangerous men in the division to earn another shot at the champion.

“This is going to be an epic event,” Gustafsson said. “I want more than 30,000 fans to come and witness me win on January 24. Then I’m going to go and get the title! My journey back to the top starts now. ”

The bout will take place in front of more than 30,000 fans at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, marking just the second major stadium event in UFC history and the first in Europe. The previous stadium event was the record-breaking UFC 129 held at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada, as more than 55,000 fans watched Georges St-Pierre defeat Jake Shields at UFC 129.

 

UPDATE:

The UFC has this evening also announced that American Dan Henderson will meet Dutch kickboxer Gegard Mousasi in the Sweden co-main event. Both men are coming off of losses, Hendo to Cormier and Mousasi to Jacare, and will be looking to get back in the win column. The fight will mark the return of Henderson to middleweight where he previously challenged Anderson Silva for the title. Should he beat Mousasi, he will be right back into the top-10.

Lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Co-host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Tuesday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma