UFC heavyweight Fabricio Werdum says he gave stitches to Alexander Gustafsson during a past sparring session between the two rivals.
Werdum meets Gustafsson in an intriguing heavyweight bout at a UFC Fight Island event on July 25. Gustafsson will be moving up to heavyweight for the first time in his UFC career and will be looking to bounce back from a submission loss to Anthony Smith last June. As for Werdum, he recently returned to the Octagon with a split decision loss to Aleksei Oleinik at UFC 249 in what was a disappointing showing by the former UFC heavyweight champion.
Ahead of Werdum’s matchup with Gustafsson on UFC Fight Island, the Brazilian spoke with Sherdog.com about a past sparring session he and the Swede had back in 2012. According to Werdum, he got the better of Gustafsson in the sparring that day and he has never seen eye-to-eye with Gustafsson and his team ever since.
“It happened around eight years ago when I went to train wrestling at Mark Munoz’s academy. 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,” Werdum said.
“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.”
The Werdum vs. Gustafsson fight is certainly fascinating from a stylistic matchup as it’s essentially a grappler vs. striker kind of fight. But the fact these two have history gives it an extra layer of intrigue when it goes down on July 25 in Abu Dhabi.
Who do you think wins, Fabricio Werdum or Alexander Gustafsson?