Alexander Gustafsson and Fabricio Werdum, who will meet in a heavyweight fight on July 25, have differing recollections of their past sparring session.
Gustafsson and Werdum only trained together briefly, many years ago at Mark Munoz’s gym.
“It happened around eight years ago when I went to train wrestling at Mark Munoz’s academy,” Werdum said (h/t APMMA.net). “When I arrived there, Travis Browne and Gustafsson were doing an MMA sparring session coordinated by his trainer, who invited me to join them. I imagined the trainer would do some kind of rotation sparring, but he put me in the middle with both coming in sequence.
“Of course it was not fair. First I did it with Browne, later with Gustafsson and again with Browne and again with Gustafsson. In that second sparring session, Gustafsson opened a cut on my nose, then I grabbed his neck in a Thai clinch and hit a knee in his face, which opened a big cut. I imagine he got around five stitches in there. Of course, Gustafsson and his trainer got angry with me, said a couple of bad words and the sparring didn’t finish in a good atmosphere. I don’t have a problem talking about tactics. Gustafsson knows I want to take him down and that’s no secret. And I’ll take him down and submit him. I live on the same street as Lyoto Machida, and he is helping me a lot concerning approach and distance for this fight.”
While Werdum paints a picture of a bloody and rather unpleasant sparring session, Gustafsson has a different recollection of things. The Swede, who will be making his heavyweight debut against Werdum, says their sparring together was fun.
He’s also confident he won their sparring rounds.
“I’ve sparred with Werdum, actually, ten years ago,” Gustafsson told MMAnytt last month. “It was at Mark Munoz’s gym in Los Angeles. He was champion then, and he was fit. It was a strong version of Werdum then. I’d had a fight two weeks after, and we went at it hard. I’d say that I won that sparring. So we have a bit of a past.
“Yeah he came in with knees to the head. But we both went all in. It was good sparring. I won that sparring. It was kind of fun.”
Who do you think will come out on top when Alexander Gustafsson and Fabricio Werdum meet in the Octagon on July 25?