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Gunnar Nelson is Victorious!

Gunnar Nelson is Victorious!

Gunnar Nelson With The Win In Canada!!

This past Saturday, December 8th, at the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto, at UFC 231 (Holloway vs. Ortega), Gunnar Nelson and Alex "Cowboy" Oliveira put on an entertaining (yet bloody) battle in the octagon.  

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In the first round, Cowboy was able to escape from a back body triangle, to turn up on top, where he was able to inflict serious damage to Gunnar with devastating ground and pound.  However, in round two, Gunnar ended up with the takedown and proceeded to mount Cowboy- where he dropped huge elbows causing a huge cut, and making Cowboy turn to his back and get tapped out with a rear-naked choke.

After the fight, it was announced that Alex Olivera required 29 stitches to close the deep cut on his forehead.   

Gunnar's MMA History:

Gunnar first fought MMA in May 2007 in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he fought Danish fighter John Oleson to a draw.  Following that debut, he won five more fights in the next 16 months, fighting in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Denmark.  He then took two years off, and returned to fight in England and Ireland in 2010, where he impressively won 4 more fights all by submission (rear naked choke- 2 times, neck crank, and armbar).

In July of 2012, Gunnar signed a multifight contract with the UFC- becoming the first fighter from Iceland to fight for the promotion.  Since his signing, he has gone on to win 8 out of 11 fights, with 7 fights ending in submissions, losing only to Rick Story, Damian Maia, and Santiago Ponzinibbio.

Gunnar's Grappling Career:

In addition to Gunnar Nelson's big success in the UFC, he is widely known as one of the best grappling competitors from Europe.  Gunnar was born on July 28th, 1988 in Iceland. As a child he enjoyed many sports including ice hockey, soccer and Karate (where he won 3 national juvenile tournaments and was considered one of the top up and coming karate competitors in his country).  

However, as he grew older, he became more interested in MMA, and began taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2005 at the age of 17.  He began making frequent trips to the United Kingdom to train with Matt Thornton (Straight Blast Gym), who awarded him his blue and purple belts. Additionally, Gunnar struck up a friendship with John Kavanagh (who awarded him his brown belt) head coach at Straight Blast Gym in Dublin, Ireland, when Kavanagh visited Iceland for a seminar- and he moved to Dublin to live and train with Kavanagh when he was 18 years old.  

Gunnar also began to make trips to New York City, where he trained under Renzo Gracie, who promoted Gunnar to black belt on September 30th, 2009- making him the youngest European to receive a black belt (at 21 years old- tied with Marcin Held and Mads Burnell), and after only training for 4 years!  (At the time, John Kavanagh had not been a black belt for the minimum of 6 years to promote Gunnar to black belt)

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Gunnar had an incredible grappling year in 2009.  He became a grappling household name with his breakout performance at the ADCC in Barcelona, Spain in 2009, where he placed fourth in the open weight division as a brown belt.  At the tournament, he defeated former champion Jeff Monson, 3x0 in the first round, and then defeated David Avellan by Rear Naked Choke in the Quarterfinals, before losing to Alexandre Ribeiro in the semifinals by kneebar.

In addition to ADCC, he enjoyed success competing in the IBJJF that year where he was a 2009 brown belt World Silver Medalist, and a Brown Belt Pan Am and NY Open Champion.  After Renzo promoted him in September of 2009, Gunnar also competed in the Pan Am No Gi Tournament, winning as a black belt.

These days, Gunnar is more focused on his MMA career, and has not competed in grappling tournaments in several years.  He is also an instructor in his home club Mjolnir, and still spends time training at Renzo Gracie's in NYC, in SBG Ireland, and SBG Manchester.  

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