Gunnar Nelson (fighter)

Last updated on 19 July 2017

Gunnar Lúðvík Nelson (born 28 July 1988) is an Icelandic mixed martial artist currently competing in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.[10] He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which was awarded by Renzo Gracie after impressive results at the 2009 IBJJF Pan-Ams and the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.[11] He is currently ranked #11 in the official UFC Welterweight rankings.[12] Gunnar is a teammate of fellow UFC fighter and Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor, and is a member of Mjölnir gym in Iceland, and SBG Ireland.[13][14]

Gunnar Nelson (fighter).jpg
Gunnar Nelson (fighter).jpg

Background

Early life

Nelson was born in Akureyri in the north side of Iceland but has lived in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, almost all his life from early childhood. He played football and ice hockey in his childhood years. At the age of 13, he started training in Gōjū-ryū Karate and won the Icelandic Juvenile Kumite Championship title in 2003, and again in 2004 and 2005. He took home medals in every karate tournament he participated in during 2003 to 2005. In 2005, he was chosen Iceland's most promising up-and-coming karate talent of that year, when he was just 16. However, he gave up karate to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling at age 17. Gunnar's father, Haraldur Dean Nelson (aka Halli Nelson), is of Anglo-American and Icelandic descent. He is also Gunnar's manager. Gunnar's mother, Guðrún Hulda Gunnarsdóttir Nelson, is Icelandic. Gunnar has one sibling, a sister named María Dögg Nelson born 1992 in Reykjavík.[15][16]

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Nelson began grappling in 2006, receiving his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) blue belt from Matt Thornton of Straight Blast Gym International. From the age of 17, he continued his tutelage under John Kavanagh primarily, one of Thornton's students. Nelson first met Kavanagh during one of his BJJ seminars at Mjolnir,[17] and the SBG Ireland owner would remain his head coach until this day. By 2008, Nelson had already progressed far enough for Kavanagh to award him his brown belt,[18] but with Kavanagh not being a black belt for more than six years at the time, he was unable to award Nelson his own black belt under IBJJF rules. Nelson subsequently spent a period at Renzo Gracie Academy in New York to earn his black belt and advance his game further. Shortly after his arrival, he had competed for their team in various competitions, winning a silver medal in the 2009 Mundials brown belt category.[7] He also won gold at the 2009 Pan American Championship (Gi),[8] along with gold and silver (open class) in the 2009 Pan American Championship (No-Gi).[9] At the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, Nelson took 4th place in the absolute category where he defeated the much heavier and touted BJJ Black Belts Jeff Monson and David Avellan.[19] Gracie had already seen enough, and awarded him his black belt after less than a year with his academy.[20] In 2011, Nelson was again offered a place in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship and had a good run (though not bringing home any medals), defeating the then present and twofold European Champion and multiple Finnish champion Marko Helen and the Brazilian and American champion and former World Champion Bruno Frazzato.[21]

Today, Nelson is an instructor in his home club Mjolnir. He spends his time between there, SBG Ireland, Renzo Gracie Academy, and also SBG Mainline in Manchester where he trains with Karl Tanswell.[21] Nelson uses his BJJ as his primary method of offence in MMA.

Mixed martial arts career

Early career

In May 2007, Nelson fought in mixed martial arts for the first time, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The fight was against Danish fighter John Olesen. The judges ruled the bout a draw.

Nelson won five more fights in the 16 months following his debut, in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Denmark, before taking a break from the sport for almost two years. He returned at BAMMA 2: Roundhouses at the Roundhouse in February 2010 and defeated opponent Sam Elsdon via submission in the first round. He secured another first round victory in his next fight against Danny Mitchell at Cage Contender 6 in Manchester, England before returning to BAMMA later that year. His next appearance was at BAMMA 4: Reid vs. Watson in September 2010 where he faced previously unbeaten British prospect Eugene Fadiora and won by submission in the first round.[22] In February 2012, Nelson returned to MMA with a first round armbar submission win over Ukrainian fighter Alexander Butenko at Cage Contender 12 in Dublin Ireland. In late 2012 Nelson signed a multi-fight agreement with the UFC.[23]

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Gunnar signed a multifight contract with the UFC in July 2012.[24] He's the first fighter from Iceland to fight for the company.

Nelson was expected to make his promotional debut against Pascal Krauss on September 29, 2012 at UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic.[25] However, Krauss was forced out of the bout with an injury (Rich Attonito was shortly linked to fighting Nelson but he had weight concerns and also pulled out) and Nelson was expected to face DaMarques Johnson at a catchweight bout of 175 lb,[26] but his opponent could not make the required weight. The fight was contested at 183 lbs (Nelson weighed in 175 lbs).[27] Nelson submitted Johnson via rear-naked choke at the 3:34 mark of the first round.[28]

Nelson was expected to face Justin Edwards on February 16, 2013 at UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald.[29] However, Edwards was forced to pull out of the bout citing an injury, and was replaced by returning veteran Jorge Santiago.[30] Nelson won the fight by unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 30–27).[31]

Nelson was expected to face Mike Pyle on May 25, 2013 at UFC 160.[32] However, Nelson pulled out of the bout citing an injury and was replaced by Rick Story.[33]

A year later Nelson returned to the UFC and faced Omari Akhmedov on March 8, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 37.[34] Nelson won the fight via submission in the first round. The win also earned Nelson his first Performance of the Night bonus award.[35]

Nelson was expected to face Ryan LaFlare on July 19, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 46.[36] LaFlare suffered an injury and was replaced by Zak Cummings.[37] Nelson won the fight via second round rear-naked choke. The victory secured Nelson his second Performance of the Night bonus award.[38]

Nelson next faced Rick Story on October 4, 2014 in the main event at UFC Fight Night 53.[39] Nelson lost the fight via split decision.[40]

Nelson was expected to face John Hathaway on July 11, 2015 at UFC 189.[41] However, Hathaway pulled out of the bout on June 23 citing injury, and was replaced by Brandon Thatch.[42] Nelson won the fight by submission due to a rear naked choke in round one after dropping Thatch with a left-right hand combo.[43]

Nelson was briefly linked to a fight with Demian Maia on October 24, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 76, but the bout did not materialize for that event as Maia was sidelined with a staph infection on his left leg.[44] The bout eventually took place on December 12, 2015 at UFC 194.[45] Nelson lost the one-sided fight via unanimous decision.[46]

Nelson faced Albert Tumenov on May 8, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 87.[47] He won the fight via submission in the second round, and earned his third Performance of the Night bonus.[48][49]

Nelson was expected to face Dong Hyun Kim on November 19, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 99.[50] However on October 21, it was announced that Nelson had pulled out due to an injury and the fight was off. Kim was rescheduled to face Tarec Saffiedine on December 30, 2016 at UFC 207.[51]

Nelson faced Alan Jouban on March 18, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 107.[52] After rocking Jouban with a punch, Nelson secured a guillotine choke to win by submission in the second round.[53] He was awarded a Performance of the Night bonus.[54]

Nelson faced Santiago Ponzinibbio on July 16, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 113.[55] He lost the fight by knockout in the first round.[56] At the post fight press conference, Nelson claimed that Ponzinibbio poked him in the eye during one of the earlier exchange and caused him see double as he put it “And I really should have said something because I was seeing double for the rest of the fight. He caught me with a shot that I didn’t really see.”[57] Ponzinibbio dismissed Nelso claim and stated "I went there to knock him out and thank God it went as expected, I won by knockout. If (the eye poke) happened, of course it wasn’t intentional, but I watched the video again and didn’t see it."[58]

Weight cutting

Throughout his career, Gunnar has never engaged in extensive weight cutting. Gunnar's training weight is around 175–176 pounds, necessitating only a 5–6 pound weight cut.[59][60] Gunnar has been a big proponent of instituting strict rules against weight cutting, arguing that the practice is dangerous to the fighters and counterproductive to the UFC, as it leads to fights being cancelled or fought at catch weight.[60]

Wraps and gloves

Gunnar fights and spars without wraps on his hands and uses small gloves. He has said that he would fight without any gloves if it were possible. He maintains that minimal wraps and gloves give him a better feel of what he's doing with his hands.[61] Wraps and gloves are intended to protect fighters' hands, but Gunnar notes that he has never broken his hands.[61]

Championships and accomplishments

Mixed martial arts

Grappling

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
20 matches 16 wins 3 losses
By knockout 3 1
By submission 12 0
By decision 1 2
Draws 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 16–3–1 Santiago Ponzinibbio KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio 16 July 2017 1 1:22 Glasgow, Britain
Win 16–2–1 Alan Jouban Submission (guillotine choke) UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs. Anderson 18 March 2017 2 0:46 London, Britain Performance of the Night.
Win 15–2–1 Albert Tumenov Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Arlovski 8 May 2016 2 3:15 Rotterdam, Netherlands Performance of the Night.
Loss 14–2–1 Demian Maia Decision (unanimous) UFC 194 12 December 2015 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 14–1–1 Brandon Thatch Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 189 11 July 2015 1 2:54 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 13–1–1 Rick Story Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Story 4 October 2014 5 5:00 Stockholm, Sweden
Win 13–0–1 Zak Cummings Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao 19 July 2014 2 4:48 Dublin, Ireland Performance of the Night.
Win 12–0–1 Omari Akhmedov Submission (guillotine choke) UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa 8 March 2014 1 4:36 London, Britain Performance of the Night.
Win 11–0–1 Jorge Santiago Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald 16 February 2013 3 5:00 London, Britain
Win 10–0–1 DaMarques Johnson Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic 29 September 2012 1 3:34 Nottingham, Britain Catchweight (175 lbs) bout; Johnson missed weight (183 lbs).
Win 9–0–1 Alexander Butenko Submission (armbar) Cage Contender XII 25 February 2012 1 4:21 Dublin, Ireland
Win 8–0–1 Eugene Fadiora Submission (neck crank) BAMMA 4 25 September 2010 1 3:51 Birmingham, Britain
Win 7–0–1 Danny Mitchell Submission (rear-naked choke) Cage Contender VI 28 August 2010 1 2:51 Manchester, Britain
Win 6–0–1 Sam Elsdon Submission (rear-naked choke) BAMMA 2 13 February 2010 1 2:30 London, Britain
Win 5–0–1 Iran Mascarenhas KO (punch) Adrenaline 3: Evolution 6 September 2008 2 3:22 Copenhagen, Denmark
Win 4–0–1 Barry Mairs TKO (punches) Angrrr Management 14: Ready for War 9 December 2007 1 3:38 London, Britain
Win 3–0–1 Niek Tromp Submission (punches) Cage of Truth 1: Battle on the Bay 24 November 2007 1 1:50 Dublin, Ireland
Win 2–0–1 Adam Slawinski TKO (punches) Ultimate Fighting Revolution 10 6 October 2007 1 2:30 Galway, Ireland
Win 1–0–1 Driss El Bakara Submission (armbar) Cage Rage Contenders: Dynamite 29 September 2007 1 3:46 Dublin, Ireland
Draw 0–0–1 John Olesen Draw (split) Adrenaline Sports tournament 5 May 2007 3 5:00 Copenhagen, Denmark

[11][62]

See also

References

  1. ^ Official UFC. "Gunnar Nelson Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  2. ^ Official UFC. "Gunnar Nelson Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  3. ^ a b "Fight Card - UFC 189 Mendes vs. McGregor". UFC.com. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  4. ^ Official UFC. "Gunnar Nelson Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  5. ^ Dan Shapiro (July 17, 2014). "Gunnar Nelson in the Style of Iceland". Vice Fightland Blog.
  6. ^ "Gunnar Nelson - Official UFC Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  7. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20090907150208/http://www.ibjjf.org/results/2009mundial.htm. Archived from the original on September 7, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20090822070848/http://www.ibjjf.org/results/2009pan.htm. Archived from the original on August 22, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ a b c https://web.archive.org/web/20091007081847/http://www.ibjjf.org/results/2009pannogi.htm. Archived from the original on October 7, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Official UFC. "Gunnar Nelson Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  11. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20100314114037/http://www.nelson.is/record.html. Archived from the original on March 14, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Fighter Rankings - UFC ®". UFC.
  13. ^ "Odinsbud - MMA fightwear - Mjolnir - Iceland". Óðinsbúð.
  14. ^ "MMA Fighters". SBG Ireland.
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20120227134602/http://nelson.is/about.html. Archived from the original on February 27, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Hughes, Jake. "Fightland Talks To: Gunnar Nelson and Conor McGregor's Coach". Fightland Blog. Vice.com. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  18. ^ "GUNNAR AWARDED A BROWN BELT IN BJJ". Gunnar Nelson Official. June 2008.
  19. ^ Absolute bronze « GRACIEMAG at the ADCC. Graciemagbarcelona2009.wordpress.com (2009-09-27). Retrieved on 2012-02-26.
  20. ^ [2] Archived October 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20120227135106/http://nelson.is/index.html. Archived from the original on February 27, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20101001094953/http://www.bamma.net/index.php/schedule/event-results/bamma-4.html. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ "Renzo Gracie Black Belt Gunnar Nelson Signs with the UFC". Cdn.mmaweekly.com. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  24. ^ Martin, Damon (2012-07-08). "Renzo Gracie Black Belt Gunnar Nelson signs with UFC". MMAWeekly.com. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  25. ^ "Pascal Krauss vs Gunnar Nelson added to UFC on Fuel TV 5 in Nottingham". mmajunkie.com. July 9, 2012.
  26. ^ Staff (2012-09-18). "Debuting Gunnar Nelson Now Draws DaMarques Johnson at UFC on Fuel TV 5". MMAWeekly.com. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
  27. ^ Staff (2012-09-28). "UFC on FUEL TV 5 weigh-in results: Miocic (239) and Struve (251) on weight (updated)". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  28. ^ Stupp, Dann (2012-09-29). "UFC on FUEL TV 5 results: Gunnar Nelson chokes out DaMarques Johnson in first round". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
  29. ^ "Gunnar Nelson vs. Justin Edwards added to UFC on FUEL TV 7 in London". mmajunkie.com. December 13, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  30. ^ Staff (January 23, 2013). "Justin Edwards out, Jorge Santiago in against Gunnar Nelson at UFC on FUEL TV 7". mmajunkie.com.
  31. ^ "UFC on Fuel TV 7 Results: Gunnar Nelson Remains Undefeated with Commanding Performance". Cdn.mmaweekly.com. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  32. ^ John Morgan (February 28, 2013). "Gunnar Nelson meets Mike Pyle at May's UFC 160 in Las Vegas". MMAjunkie.com.
  33. ^ Staff (April 10, 2013). "Rick Story replaces Gunnar Nelson, meets Mike Pyle at UFC 160". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  34. ^ Dann Stupp (December 10, 2013). "UFC European Tour in London adds Gunnar Nelson-Omari Akhmedov". MMAjunkie.com.
  35. ^ John Morgan (2014-03-08). "UFC Fight Night 37 bonuses: Alexander Gustafsson earns dual awards". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  36. ^ Staff (2014-04-29). "Gunnar Nelson mætir ósigruðum Bandaríkjamanni í Dyflinni". visir.is. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  37. ^ @YourMMA. "LaFlare Injured, Nelson Gets New Opponent For UFC Dublin". YourMMA.tv. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  38. ^ Matt Erickson (2014-07-19). "UFC Fight Night 46 bonuses: McGregor, Nelson, Pendred, King win $50,000". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  39. ^ Matt Erickson (2014-08-07). "Gunnar Nelson vs. Rick Story set for UFC Fight Night 53 main event in Stockholm". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  40. ^ Damon Martin (2014-10-04). "Rick Story upsets undefeated prospect Gunnar Nelson in Sweden". msn.foxsports.com. Retrieved 2014-10-04.
  41. ^ Tristen Crichfield (2015-04-01). "UFC 189 Update: Gunnar Nelson-John Hathaway welterweight bout set for July 17". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
  42. ^ Matt Erickson (2015-06-23). "Brandon Thatch meets Gunnar Nelson at UFC 189, John Howard now gets Cathal Pendred". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-06-23.
  43. ^ Brent Brookhouse (2015-07-11). "UFC 189 results: Gunnar Nelson drops, then chokes out Brandon Thatch in first". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-07-11.
  44. ^ Chuck Mindenhall (2015-08-13). "Demian Maia suffers nasty staph infection on his leg, prevents him from fighting Gunnar Nelson". mmafighting.com.
  45. ^ Staff (2015-09-04). "Yet another UFC 194 biggie: Demian Maia vs. Gunnar Nelson". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
  46. ^ Matt Erickson (2015-12-12). "UFC 194 results: Demian Maia dominates Gunnar Nelson, calls for 170 title shot". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  47. ^ Staff (2016-03-01). "Albert Tumenov vs. Gunnar Nelson added to UFC Fight Night 87 in Rotterdam". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
  48. ^ Steven Marrocco (2016-05-08). "UFC Fight Night 87 results: Gunnar Nelson gets tap, becomes first to finish Albert Tumenov". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  49. ^ Tristen Critchfield (2016-05-08). "UFC Rotterdam bonuses: Overeem, Struve, Nelson, de Randamie pocket $50K". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2016-05-08.
  50. ^ Ariel Helwani (2016-08-24). "Gunnar Nelson vs. Dong Hyun Kim slated for UFC's return to Northern Ireland". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  51. ^ Darragh Murphy (2016-10-21). "UFC Belfast loses main event as SBG's Gunnar Nelson suffers injury". sportsjoe.ie. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  52. ^ MMA Fighting Newswire (2017-02-13). "Gunnar Nelson faces Alan Jouban at UFC Fight Night 107 in London". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  53. ^ Steven Marrocco (2017-03-18). "UFC Fight Night 107 results: Gunnar Nelson on point, chokes out Alan Jouban in second". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  54. ^ Tristen Critchfield (2017-03-18). "UFC Fight Night 107 bonuses: Manuwa, Nelson, Vera, Diakiese receive $50K checks". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  55. ^ Marc Raimondi (2017-05-12). "Gunnar Nelson vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio to headline UFC Fight Night 113". mmafighting. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  56. ^ Dave Doyle (2017-07-16). "UFC Fight Night 113 results: Santiago Ponzinibbio knocks out Gunnar Nelson". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  57. ^ "Nelson: I Was Seeing Double After Early Eye Poke". MMAmania.com. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  58. ^ "Ponzinibbio Dismisses Eye-Poke Accusations In Rout Of Nelson, Although replays show he eye poked him 3 times". MMAmania.com. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  59. ^ O'Leary, Ryan. "Halli Nelson Calls for ‘Change in Mindset’ and Elimination of Extreme Weight Cuts". www.mmaviking.com. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  60. ^ a b "Gunnar Nelson believes weight cutting should be eliminated in MMA | FOX Sports". FOX Sports. 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  61. ^ a b "Gunnar Nelson Doesn’t Wrap His Hands Before Fights, Likes to 'Get the Feel' | MMAWeekly.com". www.mmaweekly.com. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  62. ^ "Gunnar "Gunni" Nelson MMA Stats, Pictures, News, Videos, Biography". Sherdog.com. 1988-07-28. Retrieved 2016-02-24.

External links

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