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Gunnar Nelson vs. Gilbert Burns: A Grappling Fans Delight

Gunnar Nelson vs. Gilbert Burns: A Grappling Fans Delight



UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Cannonier takes place Saturday, September 28th, 2019 at Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

This event will mark the promotions first visit to Copenhagen, Denmark and will feature top middleweight standouts Jack Hermansson and Jared Cannonier in the night’s main event. 

Looking at the totality of this fight card, many names jump off of the screen, including  former interim title challenger Ovince Saint Preux, Ion Cutelaba, Khalil Rountree Jr., Lando Vannata, and Siyar Bahadurzada, amongst others. 

With the main event locking in two serious middleweight contenders and the names listed above plus more, perhaps none of these names and matchups will grab a grappler’s attention much more than Gunnar Nelson vs. Gilbert Burns. 

When we speak about Burns, who holds a MMA record of 16-3 with 8 submissions (3 Rear Naked Chokes, 5 armbars), a 2015 ADCC bronze medal, 2 time NoGi world championships (2009/2011), 12 UFC fights with a promotional record of 9-3, and holds wins over Alan Jouban, Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira, Jason Saggo, Olivier Aubin-Mercier, and most recently handing Russian prospect Alexy Kunchenko his first professional loss back in August.

Back in 2012, Burns was chosen by Brazilian MMA legend Vitor Belfort as head grappling coach on team Belfort for the inaugural The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. 

There is no doubt Burns has been and continues to be one of strongest forces in the grappling world of mixed martial arts and continues to demonstrate his willingness to fight.  As he enjoys a 3 fight win streak, he is replacing fellow Brazilian warrior and former welterweight title challenger Thiago “Pitbull” Alves on short notice against a tough matchup in Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson. 

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Now looking at Icelandic MMA’s first son and Renzo Gracie black belt Gunnar Nelson, who holds a professional MMA record of 17-4-1 with 12 submissions (2 armbars, 6 Rear Naked Chokes, 2 guillotines, 2 neck cranks), Pan-Am Gi/NoGi championship in 2009, and a World Jiu-Jitsu championship in 2009, made his UFC debut back in 2012 and has a promotional record of 8-4. 

During his UFC tenure, Nelson has notable wins over Omari Akhmedov, Albert Tumenov, Alan Jouban, and Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira. Nelson is also the very first Icelandic native to be signed to the UFC, paving the way for Iceland’s new favorite sport. Nelson has been known to split his time between his home gym Mjölnir MMA in Reykjavík, Iceland and SBG Ireland under the tutelage of John Kavanagh. 

 This atmosphere will be somewhat familiar for the Iceland native, as Nelson made his professional debut in Copenhagen, Denmark quite some time ago in 2007, where the fight was declared a draw. Following that unfortunate draw, Nelson went on a hefty winning streak of 10 in a row with 10 finishes (6 by submission), earning his shot in the UFC welterweight division. 

As we know that both fighters are more than capable on the ground and the feet, this should be an exceptional fight all around, but if you look at it from a pure grappling standpoint, this fight cannot disappoint. If you just look at each man’s aggressive style once the fight reaches the mat, with Burns’ full forward pressure and top heavy approach to Nelson’s stoic methodical movement focused mount and back game, it is a diehard grappling fans delight.

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