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Gunnar Nelson expected to make long-awaited return against Claudio Silva at UFC London

Gunnar Nelson will try to make weigh at the UFC Fight Night 53 weigh-ins Friday.
Gunnar Nelson will try to make weigh at the UFC Fight Night 53 weigh-ins Friday.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Gunnar Nelson is expected to make his return to the octagon against Claudio Silva at the upcoming UFC London card scheduled for March 19.

Multiple sources confirmed the news to MMA Fighting with verbal agreements in place from the fighters. The matchup was first announced via Twitter on Monday.

Long considered one of the premiere grapplers in the sport, Nelson has been a mainstay in the UFC’s welterweight division since 2012 but he’s been out of action for nearly three years while dealing with injuries. Most recently, Nelson revealed that his return was delayed after he engaged in a grappling session with Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who is best known for his role as “The Mountain” on “Game of Thrones.

It was during that session that Nelson suffered a rib injury in the middle of the grappling match with his 350-plus pound opponent, which prevented him from booking a fight in January.

Now, Nelson will return in March instead after inking a new multi-fight deal with the UFC just recently. He will also seek to get back in the win column for the first time since 2018 after dropping back-to-back decisions to Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns.

As for Silva, he will also attempt to get back to his winning ways in March after he fell to Court McGee and James Krause in his last two appearances in the octagon. Prior to those setbacks, Silva had gone on a 14-fight undefeated streak including five straight wins in the UFC.

Nelson vs. Silva is the latest addition to a growing UFC London card that will be headlined by heavyweights Tom Aspinall and Alexander Volkov.