'Rumble' Johnson disposed of Alexander Gustafsson in emphatic fashion to shock the Stockholm crowd. Jeff Chiu

Johnson rumbles Gustafsson to book a title tussle with Jon Jones

The UFC have got their next light-heavyweight challenger, but it’s not who was expected.

THINGS DIDN’T QUITE go according to plan for Alexander Gustafsson last night.

Returning to action for the first time in almost a year, Gustafsson was finished in the first round of the main event as the UFC returned to Sweden.

With a reported attendance of just under 30,000 at the Tele2 Arena, UFC Stockholm was the largest event ever staged by the promotion in Europe.

According to the script, Gustafsson was to see off the challenge of a resurgent Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson to set up an eagerly-anticipated rematch with UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

However, not for the first time, Johnson did things his way. Clearly not fazed by fighting in his opponent’s territory — and outside the US for only the second time in his career — Johnson needed just over two minutes to overcome his opponent.

It was an overhand right that rocked Gustafsson initially, and while the Swede battled bravely to weather the storm, he was unable to prevent a series of devastating follow-up strikes which prompted referee Marc Goddard to halt the bout after 2:15 of round one.

“I never gave up hope on myself, but I never thought I’d be in this situation,” Johnson said afterwards.

“This is a blessing. There’s a lot of people that doubted me, and at times I doubted myself. But, I’m here and I don’t plan on looking back, or going backward at all.”

Johnson will now be the next man to face reigning UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones — an incredible turn of events for a fighter who was cut by the UFC in 2012 due to persistent issues with making weight.

But Johnson has been a revelation since returning to the promotion last year, proving himself to be a major force in the 205lbs division with wins over Phil Davis and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Last night’s victory against Gustafsson was his ninth in succession.

Johnson will aim to make it ten against Jon Jones, and he fancies his chances too: ”I think I’ll be the hardest puncher he’s ever faced and he’s faced a lot of top-quality guys. Hopefully I can just do things that nobody else has done to him.

“Alexander gave him the worst beating he’s ever had. Hopefully I can give him one 10 times worse. Whenever the UFC wants me to fight for the title, I’m ready.”

It looks like Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo already have some strong competition for the mantle of ‘Most Anticipated Fight of 2015′. Even Jon Jones seemed to be pretty impressed by Johnson’s performance…

Controversy followed the night’s co-main event, which saw Dan Henderson stopped by Gegard Mousasi via TKO after just 1:10 of the first round. Henderson complained of an early stoppage as he slipped to a fifth loss in his last six outings.

Elsewhere on the main card, Ryan Bader edged out Phil Davis on a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) and Sweden’s Akira Corassani was knocked out by Sam Sicilia after 3:26 of the first round of their featherweight bout.

It was another bad night overall for the Swedes. Nico Musoke had a unanimous-decision loss to Albert Tumenov on the prelims, so the hosts went 0-3 for the event.

Meanwhile, there were mixed fortunes for the Irish in action last night in Stockholm. Paul Redmond was defeated via unanimous decision against Mirsad Bektic, but Neil Seery was in excellent form as he took victory on the judges’ scorecards against Chris Beal (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).

One of the night’s biggest winners, however, was debutant Makwan Amirkhani. The Finnish featherweight took just eight seconds to see off Andy Ogle and earned a $50,000 bonus for his efforts.

Results: UFC on FOX 14

Anthony Johnson def. Alexander Gustafsson via TKO (punches) at 2:15 of Round 1

Gegard Mousasi def. Dan Henderson via TKO (punches) at 1:10 of Round 1

Ryan Bader def. Phil Davis via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Sam Sicilia def. Akira Corassani via KO (Punch) at 3:26 of Round 1

Albert Tumenov def. Nico Musoke via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Kenny Robertson def. Sultan Aliev via KO (punches) at 2:42 of Round 1

Makwan Amirkhani def. Andy Ogle via TKO (strikes) at 0:08 of Round 1

Nikita Krylov def. Stanislav Nedkov via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:24 of Round 1

Mairbek Taisumov def. Anthony Christodoulou via KO (Punches) at 0:38 of Round 2

Mirsad Bektic def. Paul Redmond via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)

Viktor Pesta def. Konstantin Erokhin via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Neil Seery def. Chris Beal via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Makwan Amirkhani was awarded a $50,000 bonus for a UFC debut that lasted just eight seconds

Another UFC win for satisfied Seery after ‘incredible week’ in Stockholm

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