Oslo’s own Jack Hermansson scheduled to fight at UFC 262

Jack HermanssonPhoto: Annika Byrde / NTB
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Oslo-based Swedish mixed martial arts stand-out, Jack Hermansson, is scheduled to fight fellow middleweight Edmen Shahbazyan in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). With the event scheduled for May 15, Hermansson will be hoping to leave unscathed, which would allow him a double celebration – victory in the fight, followed by (COVID permitting) Norway’s May 17 celebrations.

The event

Scheduled to take place on May 15, 2021, Hermansson’s bout will form part of the undercard of UFC 262, to be hosted at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas – an event that will be headlined by a fight between the United States’ Michael Chandler, and Brazil’s Charles Oliveira da Silva.

Ordinarily, UFC events are televised on Viaplay, and the fights begin sometime around midnight Norwegian time, due to the time difference with the United States. Details of the exact time and viewing availability will be posted on Norway Today nearer the time, once confirmed.

The story so far

Hermansson, born in Uddevalla, Sweden, has been based in Oslo for several years, operating out of Frontline Academy; a mixed martial arts gym in the Majorstuen area of Oslo.

A standout on the European MMA scene, Hermansson was the Middleweight Champion in Cage Warriors; a UK-based promotion that has helped to foster some of the best talents in Scandinavian MMA, including other top Norwegian names like Kenneth Bergh, Mohsen Bahari, and Simeon Thoresen, as well as Denmark’s Nicolas Dalby. Along with winning the Cage Warriors Middleweight title, Hermansson also left the Cage Warriors promotion undefeated.

In the UFC, the world’s premier MMA promotion, Hermansson has been an impressive force. Currently, his UFC record stands at 8 wins and 4 losses, with a record of 21 wins and 6 losses across all promotions. In the UFC, he is ranked as the number 7 Middleweight contender in the world, and so far, his performances have caught the attention of the broader MMA community. “The Joker,” as Hermansson is known, has already collected two UFC Fight Night Bonuses; one for “Performance of the Night,” and one for his part in the “Fight of the Night.”

But the Joker’s UFC boasts extend beyond statistics and accolades. Included are a plethora of corollary achievements; including a cinematic manhandling of top contender David Branch, which would be at home on any MMA highlight reel; the setting of a new record for strikes landed in a 5-round middleweight bout against elite-level opponent Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza; and a highly technical submission victory over one of the UFC’s brightest stars, and eternal title contender, Kelvin Gastelum.

Hermansson’s imposing and relentless style was once described as “ushering in a new era of ground and pound“. Apparently then, it’s Joker by name, not by nature.

What of the Joker’s opponent?

The Joker’s opponent is Edmen Shahbazyan, a 23-year-old American of Armenian descent. Whilst having considerably less experience than Hermansson, he also holds a lot less mileage on his body at this stage of his athletic career. Shahbazyan has proven formidable in the early stages of his MMA tenure, winning 11 out of 12 of his fights, including 10 inside the distance.

On top of that, Shahbazyan’s sole loss came by knockout, evidencing that he approaches his fights with a “kill or be killed” attitude. With Hermansson’s noted aggression throughout his career, this fight has all the makings of an old-fashioned slugfest.

Both fighters are looking to rebound from losses in their previous fights, with Hermansson dropping an entertaining decision loss to Italian Marvin Vettori in December 2020, and Shahbazyan being knocked out by American Derek Brunson in August 2020. The victor of this fight will surely feel that their title aspirations will take a major step in the right direction.

For Sweden, and for Norway

Born in Sweden, but based out of Norway, Hermansson has left no ambiguity in which country he represents.

Many fighters enter the UFC’s hallowed Octagon adorning the flag of their homeland, and Hermansson has now become a distinctive figure in this regard; entering with both the Norwegian and Swedish flags, expressing in no uncertain terms that his motherland and his adopted home both form integral components of his fighting identity.

With foundations laid, all eyes are on Jack

Scandinavian MMA is well established on the world stage. Fighters from all of the Scandinavian nations, and the broader Nordic countries have performed under the blinding lights of the UFC stage, time and again.

The most noted competitor is Sweden’s 34-year-old Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson, who has faced the elite of the elite competition and thrice challenged for the UFC light-heavyweight title.

If Hermansson can gain victory in May, continue his previous form in the UFC, and correct the errors that have led to minor setbacks, then there is every reason to believe that he may both emulate, and perhaps exceed the achievements of Sweden’s best, whilst also becoming Norway’s best: a unique opportunity resulting form his aforementioned representation of both countries.

With continued achievement and ascent, Jack “The Joker” Hermansson may well be on the path to becoming the greatest ever export of Scandinavian MMA.

Source: #Norway Today

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