According to many Swedish media members and fans, the most popular fighter in the country is not light-heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson, but lightweight Reza Madadi.
When Gustafsson fell off the card with an injury, Madadi certainly became the crowd favorite for Saturday's UFC on FUEL 9 event in Stockholm, and he delivered a performance most of his countrymen won't forget.
After suffering a first-round knockdown, the "Mad Dog" lived up to his name by fighting with a vengeance, eventually finishing opponent Michael Johnson with an anaconda choke at 1:33 of the third round.
The first round was fairly even until the final minute. As the duo were scrambling back to their fight, Johnson perfectly timed a head kick which caught Madadi flush and dropped him. Johnson flurried for the finish, adding a powerful knee a few moments later, but Madadi survived the round.
"[I was] really hurt," Madadi said afterward. "He got me. Not 100 percent, 99."
Amazingly, he was completely recovered by the start of the second round. He quickly scored a takedown and owned the position for most of the five minutes, scoring with elbows and punches.
He started the third the same way with an early takedown, quickly moving to side control where he opened up with strikes before sliding in the fight-ending choke.
A euphoric Madadi jumped atop the cage fence and straddled it for a second before leaping over the side and celebrating with his corners and some fans.
"Michael Johnson has been in the game a long time. He's a good opponent," he said. "My chance against him was small. I just want to get in here and have a good time. Luckily, I brought it home."
Madadi is now 13-3 overall while Johnson suffered his second straight defeat, dropping to 12-8.