This Saturday, in the co-main event of the UFC’s latest trip to London, England, rising welterweight Alan Jouban will take on dangerous Icelandic star Gunnar Nelson.
Nelson is known primarily for his grappling. That said, the Conor McGregor training partner also has a unique, karate-based style of striking that has given many foes trouble in the past. In a recent interview with BJPENN.COM’s Chris Taylor, Jouban weighed in on his upcoming foe’s underrated standup game.
“Yea he has a very awkward kind of karate style stance that he keeps,” Jouban said. “It is a mix between like a Conor McGregor and a karate practitioner – at least in the way that he stands. I feel that Gunnar is actually very underrated on the feet. You know he does so much damage on the ground that people almost take his stand-up for granted. But watching his tape and looking at really dangerous strikers like Brandon Thatch for instance, Gunnar dropped Brandon before he choked him out. Even with Albert Tumenov, who is a really powerful striker, Gunnar was beating Tumenov on the feet until he eventually took him down. So yeah, you can’t sleep anywhere on Gunnar Nelson. He is dangerous on the feet but just maybe feels more comfortable on the ground where he gets most of his finishes.”
Jouban then revealed who he’s been training with to prepare for Nelson’s revered grappling, as well as his unheralded karate-based striking.
“I did not want to leave any stone unturned in preparation for this camp so I already had like two or three [jiu jitsu] black belts at my disposal training at Blackhouse. So I pretty much used their knowledge on a day-to-day basis. Kevin Casey was one of the guys and he shared a lot of knowledge with me.”
“Then [to train for Gunnar] on the feet, I was like ok, he is like a karate guy with somewhat of a blitzing style, so who do I have at my disposal that can emulate that type of striking and movement? So right away I contacted the Machida brothers, who are good friends of mine, and they were very willing to help me out. So I have been visiting the Machida Karate Academy once a week and getting my sparring in with both Chinzo and Lyoto. They both use karate and that blitzing type of style so it has been a huge help for me. Gunnar usually uses an orthodox style but sometimes will switch to southpaw. So I’ve been training with Lyoto, who is southpaw, and his brother Chinzo, who is orthodox, and yeah it has just been great man.”
Who do you think will come out on top in UFC London’s Gunnar Nelson vs. Alan Jouban co-main event? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/16/2017.