clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC Fight Night 53 fight card: Gunnar Nelson vs Rick Story fight preview

In a pivotal welterweight match up, Gunnar Nelson and Rick Story collide in search of a top 10 ranking this Saturday (Oct. 4, 2014) at UFC Fight Night 53 in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Ericsson Globe Arena. In a battle of untested prospect versus hardened veteran, what adjustments can be made for either man to claim victory? Read our fight preview to find out!

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Gunnar Nelson and Rick Story will go to war in the main event of UFC Fight Night 53 on Fight Pass this Saturday (Oct. 4, 2014) in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Ericsson Globe Arena.

There are a lot of eyes on Nelson. The jiu-jitsu ace is undefeated and has finished three of his four opponents in the UFC. In addition to his stellar ground game, "Gunni" has an excellent karate-style striking game.

On the other hand, Story has repeatedly proven that he's an extremely tough fighter. Though he's been on the wrong end of some split decisions recently. All of his losses have been highly competitive, but Story needs to gain some momentum if he wants to break into the division's elite.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both men.

Gunnar Nelson

Record: 13-0-1

Key Wins: Zak Cummings (UFC Fight Night 46), Jorge Santiago (UFC on FUEL TV 7)

Key Losses: None

Keys to Victory: Nelson is a grappling prodigy. The Icelandic black belt achieved impressive results at the World's grappling tournament and competed in the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC).

Thus far, Nelson's submission skills have translated well into the cage, as he's finished nine of his opponents via tap out. Not only is Nelson technical, but he's simply nasty on the mat, ripping through his opponent's defenses.

Nelson's game has proven to work rather well against brute forced brawlers. Admittedly, Story is an excellent wrestle-boxer, the best one that "Gunni" has faced. Still, Nelson's style has been effective so far.

Story is working on his patience, but his still quite an aggressive fighter. Using his footwork, Nelson should look to frustrate Story. If he can force the wrestler to over-commit, Nelson could run him into a counter punch or reactive takedown.

It's imperative that Nelson eventually gets on top of the "Horror" Story. Nelson's conditioning is fairly questionable, whereas Story has been in numerous three-round wars. Neither man has battled for the full 25 minutes, but it would be easier for Nelson to force an early submission.

Nelson should look to replicate Demian Maia's performance over Story. Maia went out aggressively and immediately looked for Story's back. After securing the position, he forced his way through Story's defenses and finished the fight.

"Gunni" has the skill set to defeat Story in a similar manner. He cannot easily chain takedown Story like Maia did, but Nelson's footwork advantage could lead him to a comparable position early in the fight.

Rick Story

Record: 17-8

Key Wins: Johny Hendricks (The Ultimate Fighter Finale 12), Thiago Alves (UFC 130)

Key Losses: Demian Maia (UFC 153), Martin Kampmann (UFC 139), Charlie Brenneman (UFC on Versus 4)

Keys to Victory: Though Story is not a technical master in any one area of the mixed martial arts (MMA), he is a grinding wrestler with some serious knockout power.

He may have just four knockout victories on his record, but Story packs a punch.

Additionally, Story has an effective submission grappling game. He excels at power moves, especially the arm triangle. In his last bout, Story fought with an actual game plan for the first time in quite a while and looked damn good doing it.

It's vital for the MMA Lab-trained fighter that he continues to fight smart if he wishes to pull off the upset.

In all likelihood, Nelson can only take Story down if the wrestler off-balances himself. Therefore, Story must keep his feet under him at all times. If he gets impatient and charges at Nelson, "Gunni" will either counter him hard or change levels.

To defeat Nelson, Story needs to cut off the cage. Whenever Nelson is pinned to the cage or within punching distance, Story should attack with extended combos. Story possesses the excellent trait of frequently going to the body, which will be especially effective in a five-round fight.

As Story wears Nelson down with body work, more opportunities to do damage will arise. Once Nelson is tired, Story can begin to open up with his power punches or even takedowns. But no matter how tired his opponent gets, Story must remain wary of his volatile grappling.

Bottom Line: Though neither man is in immediate title contention, this is an important bout for the welterweight division.

This is Nelson's first real challenge. Due to a combination of hype and his unique skill set, the European is poised to do big things if he's able to get past Story. There's a good chance he'd move into the top 10 and be within a couple wins of a title shot.

A loss would certainly steal quite a bit of Nelson's momentum. It would also upset the UFC greatly, as Nelson is one of their keys to the European market. Story is a tough fight for just about anyone, but it would still be quite disappointing for a mega prospect like Nelson to fall to him.

Story could also really use a victory here. In his last match up with a talented prospect in Kelvin Gastelum, Story put up an excellent fight and arguably won, but he still lost on the scorecards. Unfortunately for Story, he's been coming close quite a bit recently and needs to get over the hump once more.

Since Story is currently the gatekeeper to the welterweight elite, a loss would not change his position all that much. It would simply mean that Nelson is ready for a top fighter. Still, Story does not want to get stuck in this pattern, making a win here quite important.

At UFC Fight Night 53, two excellent welterweights in Gunnar Nelson and Rick Story will go to war. Which man will walk away with a victory?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania