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Gunnar Nelson relives bloody finish of Alex Oliveira: ‘The choke didn’t really do much’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Gunnar Nelson was forced to rally from behind to claim a submission win over Alex Oliveira after a hellish first five-minutes to their UFC 231 welterweight clash.

After being on the receiving end of the Brazilian’s ground and pound early in the bout, Nelson took control of the contest when he established mount in the second-round. While in mount, the Mjolnir frontrunner blasted “Cowboy” with a devastating elbow, which MMA Fighting later revealed resulted in Oliveira receiving 29 stitches.

Speaking on the latest episode of Eurobash, Nelson said he took extra satisfaction out of taking the win given the controversial finish to his last bout against Santiago Ponzinibbio, which Nelson’s team felt should have been overturned due to several eye pokes the Icelandic fighter sustained before the fight was stopped.

“I was definitely really happy with this win especially because it was a heavy start considering that my last fight before this one,” said Nelson. “I felt like this guy [Oliveira] cheated a little bit too, he elbowed me a couple of times and grabbed the fence a little bit, so it was great to get passed all of that and get the win.”

“Gunni” said he learned about the scale of damage his elbow produced when he spoke to the doctor who stitched Oliveira up after the fact.

“We spoke to the doctor afterwards who stitched him up and it was a big one alright. They had to put stitches on the inside of it as well. It made [the choke] easier if anything because it was slippery with blood; it was much easier to slide under the chin,” Nelson said.

He went on to say that the choke he applied after landing the elbow “didn’t do much” as Oliveira was “done” after the elbow landed.

“He was done then [after the elbow],” he said. “The choke didn’t really do much, it was barely on when he tapped. He tapped twice. As I was grabbing it, I don’t think the referee saw that, and then I squeezed and he tapped again, but he was done.”

Nelson believes overcoming Oliveira’s early storm is something will stand to him for the rest of his fighting days.

“You learn how it feel to go through adversity, you remember how it feels and how to regain your strengths and to keep calm in situations like that. These are all experiences that will help you progress and make you get better. These [situations] only make you stronger. It was a good experience to have, a good experience to grind through. It will help me in the future for sure.”

Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Gunnar Nelson interview beings at 7:00.