Martin McNeil, SB Nation
Gunnar Nelson arrived in the UFC as advertised.
Tabbed by many the UFC's brightest European prospect, Nelson, a native of Iceland and a Renzo Gracie black belt, lived up to his billing in his UFC debut Saturday at UFC on Fuel TV 5 in Nottingham, England.
Nelson outgrappled veteran DaMarques Johnson from the get-go, kept up the pressure, and scored a victory via rear-naked choke at 3:34 of the first round.
The bout was contested at a catchweight of 175 pounds, as Johnson, who took the bout on 12 days notice and was fighting just seven weeks after being brutally knocked out by Mike Swick in Los Angeles, missed weight on Friday.
Nelson scored a quick double-leg takedown and while Johnson managed to briefly trap Nelson in an omplata, Nelson escaped. He swiftly transitioned from side control to full mount, then got Johnson's back when he tried to escape. From there, it was only a matter of time until the finish.
"It's very exciting, I'm very glad to be here and I'm very glad to win this fight," said Nelson.
Nelson improved to 10-0-1, with nine first-round finishes. Johnson falls to 16-12. He's lost four out of his past five fights.
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