Gunnar Nelson



Quickly taps out Bryan Barberena
March 18, 2023
Nelson defeated Bryan Barberena via submission (armbar) at 4:51 of Round 1 at UFC 286 on Saturday in London.
Too easy. Knowing full well Barberena wouldn't have a prayer in the world of hanging with him on the mat, Gunnar slammed his opponent to the ground about halfway through the opening frame and went to work. He landed some strikes from a dominant position before quickly rolling to the side and nearly ripping Barberena's arm off. Bryan immediately realized the gig was up and tapped out. Few men in the world can pull off the type of creativity on the mat we saw from Gunnar here. Now 34 years of age, Nelson has struggled against high-end competition, but he's unquestionably one of the better welterweights on the roster. Gunnar has now picked up back-to-back wins on the heels of back-to-back losses to Gilbert Burns and Leon Edwards, two of the very best in the world. He also took home a $50,000 bonus here after his efforts were awarded with Performance of the Night honors.
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Getting new opponent at UFC 286
February 23, 2023
Nelson is scheduled to fight Bryan Barberena in a welterweight bout at UFC 286 on March 18, Marcel Dorff of reports.
Nelson was originally set to take on Daniel Rodriguez until the latter was removed from the bout Thursday due to undisclosed reasons. The 34-year-old Nelson is coming off a win via unanimous decision over Takashi Soto last March, which broke his two-fight losing streak against Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns in 2019. Inversely, Barberena is coming off the first defeat among his past four fights, losing to Rafael dos Anjos via Rear Naked Choke submission Dec. 3. The 33-year-old fighter out of Glendale, Arizona will have a slight one-inch reach advantage over Nelson, though both competitors stand even at 6-foot.
Booked for UFC 286
January 11, 2023
Nelson is set to square off against Daniel Rodriguez at UFC 286 in London on March 18, Marcel Dorff of reports.
Nelson returned to the Octagon after a nearly three-year hiatus last March with a victory via unanimous decision over Takashi Sato. The 34-year-old is primarily known as a wrestler and take-down specialist. His opponent, Rodriguez, is looking to bounce back from a loss to Neil Magny at UFC Fight Night in November.
Returns with strong effort
March 19, 2022
Nelson defeated Takashi Sato via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in London.
While a stoppage would have been nice, the truth of the matter is that Nelson looked pretty darn good in his first fight since September 2019. Gunnar didn't accomplish a ton on the feet, but that's not a huge concern because he's never going to beat any fighter of note in a prolonged kickboxing match anyway. Nelson's wrestling game was on point, as he landed all three of his takedown attempts, good for 8:09 worth of control time. Gunnar has high-end skills, but he will be 34 years of age this coming July and has barely fought recently. His margin for error isn't as large as it should be considering his skill set and resume.
Now facing Takashi Sato
March 7, 2022
Nelson will face Takashi Sato in London on March 19, Brett Okamoto of reports.
Nelson's original opponent, Claudio Silva, withdrew with a knee injury Friday, but he'll be able to remain on the card after a new opponent was found just three days later. Nelson will be looking to bounce back from a rough stretch which has seen him lose three of his last four fights. Sato has only fought four times under the UFC banner, winning two and losing two.
Needs new opponent
March 4, 2022
Nelson needs a new opponent for his next fight after Claudio Silva withdrew with a knee injury Friday, Guilherme Cruz of reports.
The pair had been set to square off in London on March 19. There isn't much time for a replacement to be found to keep Nelson on the card, but the UFC may still try to do just that.