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Alexander Gustafsson vs. Volkan Oezdemir announced for UFC 227

UFC 192 photos
Alexander Gustafsson
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Alexander Gustafsson has his first fight of 2018.

On Thursday, the UFC announced that Gustafsson will fight fellow light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 227 on Aug. 4 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

ESPN was the first to report the news.

Oezdemir (15-1) had previously been scheduled to fight Mauricio Rua in the main event of UFC Hamburg on July 22, but the Switzerland native is currently dealing with an ongoing felony battery charge stemming from an incident in Florida, where he currently resides.

Oezdemir, who is being accused of knocking a man unconscious outside a bar last year, will begin trial in Fort Lauderdale on July 9, his lawyer Bruce Zimet told MMA Fighting. Zimet said he only expects the trial to last a few days and likely not more than a week. It’s unclear if Oezdemir’s legal situation led to this scheduling change. Oezdemir had to forfeit his passport last November when he was arrested.

This will be Oezdemir’s first fight since challenging Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight championship at UFC 220 in January, a bout that Oezdemir lost by second-round TKO. Prior to that event, the 28-year-old was undefeated in three UFC contests.

Gustafsson (18-4), a two-time UFC title challenger, has been hampered by injuries and fought only once in both 2016 and 2017. Last May at UFC Stockholm, he defeated Glover Teixeira by fifth-round knockout to record his second consecutive victory since dropping a split decision to Cormier in October 2015.

“Alex is extremely hungry and excited to return to the Octagon,” said Gustaffson’s manager Nima Safapour in a statement to MMA Fighting. “This is a championship-level fight. If ‘D.C.’ comes back, the winner of this fight will face him.

“If not, you have the No. 1 and 2 fighting on August 4th. The focus is 100 percent on the belt. The fans win, and ‘The Mauler’ is coming to the Staples Center.”

UFC 227 will be headlined by a bantamweight title rematch between champion T.J. Dillashaw and challenger Cody Garbrandt. In the co-main event, Demetrious Johnson defends the UFC flyweight championship in a rematch with Henry Cejudo.

Additional reporting by Marc Raimondi.

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