By: Fasika Zelealem
UFC on ESPN 14 Odds: Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Gustafsson Betting Prediction
We’ve reached the fourth and final UFC event taking place on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and what a card it is that is in store for all us fight fans.
There are a staggering 15 fights scheduled for Saturday night, which is tied for the most ever on any card. In fact, you have to go all the way back to UFC 2 in 1994 to find another card as stocked as this one. In addition to the massively exciting main event involving Robert Whittaker and Darren Till, we also get to witness the return of Alexander Gustafsson. This is an important fight for the giant Swede as he is making his debut at heavyweight after a memorable career at light heavyweight.
The Mauler announced his retirement in the ring after his loss to Anthony Smith in June of last year but admitted it was an emotional decision to retire and he’s here to stay.
“It was an emotional moment. Nothing else,” Gustafsson told MMA Fighting on Tuesday during the UFC on ESPN 14 media day. “I was just heartbroken. It was a tough fight. It was in Stockholm. It was against a guy I know I’ve got the tools to beat but I didn’t obviously.
“It was a tough night and my emotions and thoughts were just chaos in my head.”
Can the Mauler Bounce Back After a Rocky Road?
Since his loss against Jon Jones in one of the all-time great fights in 2013, Gustafsson has had his shares of ups and downs. A split decision loss to Daniel Cormier in 2015 meant the light heavyweight title had eluded him twice; three times since his second loss to Jon Jones in 2018.
A move to heavyweight for the Swede stunned fight fans but according to Gustafsson, he feels stronger now than how he felt at light heavyweight.
“I felt it was the right time for me to move up one weight class,” Gustafsson explained. “Cause I’m pretty heavy, pretty big. I felt really good to step up one weight class and try out the heavyweight division.
“Then I got the fight with Werdum and this is something that fits me very well and I’m very excited about. I’m just stronger. I’m stronger than I usually was in light heavyweight.”
How Will the Other UFC Veteran Walk Out the Door?
His opponent, Fabricio Werdum will be making his final walk to the octagon as a UFC athlete as he announced he’ll be leaving the company after the fight.
The former UFC heavyweight champion and all-around MMA great has had an impressive career in the UFC, notching wins against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Hunt, and Cain Velasquez, the latter who he submitted for the UFC gold.
Werdum announced he will explore his options with other promotions after his fight with Gustafsson.
I’m thankful to the UFC for all these years. It’s practically where I made my career. I’ve always wanted to join the UFC and they gave me that opportunity twice. I was fired and asked to come back because I kept bothering them about it. But the cycle is over. It was a good cycle so far. Now I want to move on with my career, I want to do it my way. Maybe I’ll fight for a different company, I’ve fought for many of them, I want to have choices.”
UFC on ESPN 14 Odds: Werdum vs. Gustafsson Betting Prediction
Despite Gustafsson being on a two-fight losing streak with his last bout occurring over a year ago, he enters the fight as the favorite with odds of -335. Compar that to Werdum’s odds of +260, as he is on his own two-fight losing streak, most recently losing to Aleksei Oleinik in May.
Two of Gustafsson’s last three victories came by KO/TKO with DraftKings Sportsbooks placing odds of +105 of the Swede winning by knockout, submission, or DQ, while Werdum’s odds of winning by the same method at +405.
I think Gustafsson’s return ends in victory by knockout while sadly it means Werdum’s departure ends in failure.