Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir (15-2-0) is set to face Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (18-4-0) at UFC 227 in Los Angeles.
Speaking on the UFC Unfiltered podcast with Jim Norton and Matt Serra, UFC President Dana White confirmed that he is working toward matching Nate Diaz (20-11) and the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion, Georges “Rush” St-Pierre(26-2). The fight is intended to serve as the co-main event for UFC 227.
At the 1:10:00-1:10:57 of the podcast, Dana goes into the topic of Stockton native where he confirms that his intention is for Diaz to fight St-Pierre at UFC 227 in the lightweight division.
St-Pierre was the most dominant welterweight champion in UFC history. After vacating the title and stepping away from the sport, the Canadian returned in dramatic fashion last year, capturing the UFC middleweight title from then champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217. Should the bout with Diaz materialize, it would be yet another new direction for GSP with him dropping to 155lbs for the first time in his storied career.
Diaz however, is a natural lightweight, spending much of his career in the division prior to embarking on a pair of welterweight scraps with Conor McGregor. While the Stockton native does have a history of fighting at lightweight, he would be facing the not insignificant challenge of handing St-Pierre his first loss since his stunning loss to Matt Sera more than ten years ago at UFC 69.
Since his pair of fights with McGregor in 2016, Diaz has remained on the sidelines, insisting that he will only get back into the octagon for a big money fight. Sitting at number eight in the UFC lightweight rankings it is unlikely that he would jump the lengthy queue to fight reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. With a trilogy bout against longtime foe McGregor not seeming likely in the near future, there are very few options available for Diaz. A fight with the man many consider to be the greatest of all time appears to tick all the necessary boxes to get the brash talking fan favourite back into the octagon.
Talented striker Luke Rockhold is expected to make his first appearance at light heavyweight at UFC 227 this August, as he faces two time title chaser Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson in a 205lbs bout.
UFC President Dana White outlined a hugely ambitious plan for the Las Vegas card, with a double return of Georges St-Pierre and Nate Diaz in a lightweight bout, with a bantamweight title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt already confirmed as the headliner at the T-Mobile arena.
California’s Rockhold returned to the win column against David Branch after a shocking knockout loss to Michael Bisping where he lost his middleweight crown on short notice, and was expected to face current division champ Robert Whittaker in Australia until a staph infection ruled the hometown favorite out of the title meeting. Stepping in on short notice, Cuban Olympian Freestyle Wrestling medalist Yoel Romero terrifyingly stopped Luke in the fourth round with a heavy left hook, followed by a massive shot against the fence to render Rockhold unconscious.
A fan favorite fighting out of Stockholm, Sweden, the heavy handed Alexander Gustafsson scored a highlight reel stoppage over the experienced Glover Teixeira in his most recent octagon trip, landing a beautiful uppercut combination on the Brazilian to extend his win streak to two. Gus has taken both Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones to their respective distances during his stint in the Ultimate Fighting Championship top 5. Going the distance with both men, Gustafsson arguably took the victory over ‘Bones’ Jones while in his second title tilt, Cormier utilized his elite level wrestling to out score the Swede over five rounds in Houston.
In my opinion, a Light Heavyweight meeting with Gustafsson may prove hugely troublesome for Rockhold, maybe his most dangerous stylistic match up in that talent stacked division. Despite his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing prowess, Rockhold is significantly smaller than Gustafsson, despite his status as arguably the biggest Middleweight today in terms of stature.