Anthony “Rumble” Johnson knocked Alexander Gustafsson down with a big right and followed it up with a series of uppercuts to a face-down Swede to spoil the early-morning homecoming fight for the massive Stockholm crowd.
Gustafsson tried to keep Johnson at bay with a series of leg kicks but Johnson, after suffering an eye poke, made his way inside. His landed strikes, both from hands and feet, with authority. The end came at 2:15 of the first round after a patient referee finally decided that he had seen enough.
“I feel bad because he’s crying,” Johnson explained after the bout. “I’m an emotional guy, so I feel his pain.”
The fight sets up a championship bout for Johnson with Jon Jones. A victory over Rumble would represent a cleaning out of the division of sorts for the champion, who has defeated all of the legitimate light-heavyweight challengers—though fans would demand an eventual rematch with Gustafsson before Jones makes a decision about whether to move up to heavyweight to accept a superfight with Cain Velasquez.
“I got caught today,” Gustafsson conceded. “That’s what happened.”
Whereas the main event saw a slow stoppage, the co-feature witnessed a fast-triggered referee.
Gegard Mousasi scored a quick and controversial finish over MMA legend Dan Henderson at 1:10 of the first round. Mousasi clipped Hendo on the top of the head, sending him awkwardly to the mat. The third man intervened as Henderson attempted to grab his opponent’s leg. Henderson said of the stoppage, “I was surprised when it happened.”
Ryan Bader eked out a razor-thin decision victory over Phil Davis. Bader closed one of Davis’s eyes with his jab and slammed Davis on his head to end the fight, an exclamation point that likely settled the match in his favor. Two of the three 29-28 scores favored Bader.
Sam Sicilia landed a massive bomb that relieved Akira Corassani of consciousness in the Fox card’s opening bout. The first-round stoppage silenced the massive Swedish crowd rooting for their fellow countryman.
The 30,000 spectators at the Tele2 Arena set a European attendance record for mixed-martial arts.