After nearly two and half years away from action, Icelandic grappling standout Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson is expected to make his return to the octagon against 39-year-old BJJ black belt Claudio Silva. The matchup was first reported by Alfredo Zullino on Twitter.
Nelson, who made his UFC debut nearly a decade ago in September of 2012, racked up an 8-6 record in the UFC before his extended hiatus. During that run he secured submission victories in seven of his eight wins over the likes of Alex Oliveira, Alan Jouban, and Albert Tumenov. Nelson will be entering his return bout on a two-fight skid, with back-to-back decision losses in 2019 to top Welterweight contenders Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns.
Opposing Nelson will be fellow grappler, Claudio Silva. Silva has been with the promotion since 2014 and picked up decision victories over The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes runner-up Brad Scott and current top Welterweight contender Leon Edwards before running into his own injury hiatus. Silva’s injuries saw him removed from competition between late 2014 to mid 2018. Despite the long break, Silva returned with three consecutive submission victories over Nordine Taleb, Danny Roberts, and Bellator: Fight Master veteran Cole Williams. However, since his initial 5-0 run with the UFC, Silva has struggled, dropping back-to-back decisions to James Krause and The Ultimate Fighter season 11 winner Court McGee.
UFC London is scheduled to take place at the O2 Arena on March 19th. The event is expected to be headlined by a Heavyweight battle between Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall and to be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN+.
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