Gunnar Nelson (fighter)

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For the musician, see Gunnar Nelson.
Gunnar Nelson
Gunnar about2.jpg
Born (1988-07-28) July 28, 1988 (age 26)
Ólafsvík, Iceland
Other names Gunni
Residence Reykjavík, Iceland
Nationality Icelandic
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 77 kg (169 lb)
Division Welterweight
Reach 180 cm (72 in)
Stance Orthodox
Fighting out of Dublin, Ireland
Team Mjölnir
SBG Ireland
Rank      Black belt in Gōjū-ryū Karate
     Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie
Years active 2007–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 15
Wins 13
By knockout 3
By submission 9
By decision 1
Losses 1
By decision 1
Draws 1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Gunnar Nelson
Medal record
Competitor for  Iceland
IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship
Silver 2009 Middleweight (brown)[1]
IBJJF Pan American Championship (Gi)
Gold 2009 Middleweight (brown)[2]
IBJJF Pan American Championship (No-Gi)
Gold 2009 Middleweight (black)[3]
Silver 2009 Absolute (black)[3]

Gunnar Lúðvík Nelson (born 28 July 1988) is an Icelandic mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Nelson is currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He is a black belt in BJJ which was awarded by Renzo Gracie after impressive results at the 2009 IBJJF Pan-Ams and the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.[4] As of October 6, 2014, he is #14 in official UFC welterweight rankings.[5]


Early life[edit]

Nelson was born in Akureyri in the north side of Iceland but has lived in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, almost all his life from early childhood. He played football and ice hockey in his childhood years. At the age of 13, he started training in Gōjū-ryū Karate and won the Icelandic Juvenile Kumite Championship title in 2003, and again in 2004 and 2005. He took home medals in every karate tournament he participated in during 2003 to 2005. In 2005, he was chosen Iceland's most promising up-and-coming karate talent of that year, when he was just 16. However, he gave up karate to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling at age 17. Gunnar's father, Haraldur Dean Nelson (who is also his manager), is of American and Icelandic descent. Gunnar's mother, Guðrún Hulda Gunnarsdóttir Nelson, is Icelandic. Gunnar has one sibling, a sister named María Dögg Nelson born 1992 in Reykjavík.[6][7]

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[edit]

In 2009, Nelson received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Renzo Gracie,[8] earned with an outstanding performance that year, which included a silver in the 2009 Mundials brown belt category,[1] gold at the 2009 Pan American Championship (Gi),[2] gold and silver (open class) in the 2009 Pan American Championship (No-Gi)[3] and the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship where Gunnar took 4th place in the absolute category where he defeated the much heavier and touted BJJ Black Belts Jeff Monson and David Avellan.[9][10] Gunnar was again offered a place in the 2011 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship and had a good run (though not bringing home any medals) defeating the then present and twofold European Champion and multiple Finnish champion Marko Helen and the Brazilian and American champion and former World Champion Bruno Frazzato.[11]

Gunnar fights out of the Icelandic MMA club Mjölnir in Reykjavik, where he is an instructor and the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York where he trains under Renzo Gracie and John Danaher, but he has also trained and fought out of SBG Ireland in Dublin where his trainer has been John Kavanagh and SBG Mainline in Manchester where his trainer has been Karl Tanswell.[11] Gunnar began training with Kavanagh at age 17, when Kavanagh was making frequent trips to Iceland from his home base in Ireland, and training a group there.[12]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

In May 2007, Nelson fought in mixed martial arts for the first time, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The fight was against one of the best up and coming Danish fighters at that time, John Olesen, who already had at least one pro MMA fight and several amateur fights.[13] The Danish judges ruled the fight a draw, a controversial decision as many thought Nelson clearly won the 2nd and 3rd round. Nelson had Olesen in a tight kimura shoulder lock at the end of the 2nd round when the bell rang and more or less dominated the 3rd round.

After that debut, he won his next five fights, in Ireland, United Kingdom and Denmark, before taking a break from the sport for almost two years. He returned at BAMMA 2: Roundhouses at the Roundhouse in February 2010 and defeated his opponent Sam Elsdon via submission in the first round. He also won in the first round in his next fight, against Danny Mitchell at Cage Contender 6 in Manchester, England before returning to BAMMA later that year at BAMMA 4: Reid vs. Watson in September where he faced previously unbeaten British prospect Eugene Fadiora. Again he won by submission in the first round.[14] In February 2012, Nelson returned to MMA with a first round armbar submission win over Ukrainian fighter Alexander Butenko at Cage Contender 12 in Dublin Ireland. Following that victory, Nelson signed a multi-fight agreement with the UFC.[15]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Gunnar signed a multifight contract with the UFC in July 2012.[16] He's the first and still the only fighter from Iceland to fight for the company.

Nelson was expected to make his promotional debut against Pascal Krauss on September 29, 2012 at UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic.[17] However, Krauss was forced out of the bout with an injury (Rich Attonito was shortly linked to fighting Nelson but he had weight concerns and also pulled out) and Nelson was expected to face DaMarques Johnson at a catchweight bout of 175 lb,[18] but his opponent could not make the required weight. The fight was contested at 183 lbs (Nelson weighted in 175 lbs).[19] Nelson submitted Johnson via rear-naked choke at the 3:34 mark of the first round.[20]

Nelson was expected to face Justin Edwards on February 16, 2013 at UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald.[21] However, Edwards was forced to pull out of the bout citing an injury, and was replaced by returning veteran Jorge Santiago.[22] Nelson defeated Santiago in the fight by unanimous decision.[23]

Nelson was expected to face Mike Pyle on May 25, 2013 at UFC 160.[24] However, Nelson pulled out of the bout citing an injury and was replaced by Rick Story.[25]

After over a year out of action, Nelson returned to the UFC and faced Omari Akhmedov on March 8, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 37.[26] He won the fight via submission late in the first round. The win also earned Nelson his first Performance of the Night bonus award.[27]

Nelson was expected to face Ryan LaFlare on July 19, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 46.[28] However, an injury to LaFlare saw him replaced by Zak Cummings.[29] Nelson won the fight via second round rear-naked choke. The win also secured Nelson his second Performance of the Night bonus award.[30]

Nelson next faced Rick Story on October 4, 2014 in the main event at UFC Fight Night 53.[31] Nelson lost the fight via split decision.[32]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Submission Grappling[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 13–1–1 Rick Story Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Story October 4, 2014 5 5:00 Stockholm, Sweden
Win 13–0–1 Zak Cummings Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao July 19, 2014 2 4:48 Dublin, Ireland Performance of the Night
Win 12–0–1 Omari Akhmedov Submission (guillotine choke) UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa March 8, 2014 1 4:36 London, England Performance of the Night
Win 11–0–1 Jorge Santiago Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald February 16, 2013 3 5:00 London, England
Win 10–0–1 DaMarques Johnson Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic September 29, 2012 1 3:34 Nottingham, England 175 lb Catchweight bout. Johnson weighed in at 183 lb
Win 9–0–1 Alexander Butenko Submission (armbar) Cage Contender XII February 25, 2012 1 4:21 Dublin, Ireland
Win 8–0–1 Eugene Fadiora Submission (neck crank) BAMMA 4 September 25, 2010 1 3:51 Birmingham, England
Win 7–0–1 Danny Mitchell Submission (rear-naked choke) Cage Contender VI August 28, 2010 1 2:51 Manchester, England
Win 6–0–1 Sam Elsdon Submission (rear-naked choke) BAMMA 2 February 13, 2010 1 2:30 London, England
Win 5–0–1 Iran Mascarenhas KO (punch) Adrenaline 3 – Evolution September 6, 2008 2 3:22 Copenhagen, Denmark
Win 4–0–1 Barry Mairs TKO (punches) AM – Ready for War December 9, 2007 1 3:38 London, England
Win 3–0–1 Niek Tromp Submission (punches) COT – Cage of Truth November 24, 2007 1 1:50 Dublin, Ireland
Win 2–0–1 Adam Slawinski TKO (punches) UFR 10 – Ultimate Fighting Revolution 10 October 6, 2007 1 2:30 Galway, Ireland
Win 1–0–1 Driss El Bakara Submission (armbar) CR – Contenders September 29, 2007 1 3:46 Dublin, Ireland
Draw 0–0–1 John Olesen Draw (split) Adrenaline Sports tournament May 5, 2007 3 5:00 Copenhagen, Denmark


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b NomeFaixaIdadePesoColocacaoAcademia. Retrieved on 2012-02-26.
  2. ^ a b NomeFaixaIdadePesoColocacaoAcademia. Retrieved on 2012-02-26.
  3. ^ a b c NomeFaixaIdadePesoColocacaoAcademia. Retrieved on 2012-02-26.
  4. ^ a b Gunnar Nelson – Record. Retrieved on 2012-02-26.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Sherdog Prospect Watch: Gunnar Nelson[dead link]
  7. ^ Gunnar's Nelson official website
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ Absolute bronze « GRACIEMAG at the ADCC. (2009-09-27). Retrieved on 2012-02-26.
  10. ^ Gunni stendur sig vel í opna flokkinum á ADCC «. (2009-09-27)
  11. ^ a b Gunnar's Nelson official website
  12. ^ Hughes, Jake. "Fightland Talks To: Gunnar Nelson and Conor McGregor's Coach". Fightland Blog. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Martin, Damon (2012-07-08). "Renzo Gracie Black Belt Gunnar Nelson signs with UFC". Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  17. ^ "Pascal Krauss vs Gunnar Nelson added to UFC on Fuel TV 5 in Nottingham". July 9, 2012. 
  18. ^ Staff (2012-09-18). "Debuting Gunnar Nelson Now Draws DaMarques Johnson at UFC on Fuel TV 5". Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  19. ^ Staff (2012-09-28). "UFC on FUEL TV 5 weigh-in results: Miocic (239) and Struve (251) on weight (updated)". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  20. ^ Stupp, Dann (2012-09-29). "UFC on FUEL TV 5 results: Gunnar Nelson chokes out DaMarques Johnson in first round". Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  21. ^ "Gunnar Nelson vs. Justin Edwards added to UFC on FUEL TV 7 in London". December 13, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  22. ^ Staff (January 23, 2013). "Justin Edwards out, Jorge Santiago in against Gunnar Nelson at UFC on FUEL TV 7". 
  23. ^
  24. ^ John Morgan (February 28, 2013). "Gunnar Nelson meets Mike Pyle at May's UFC 160 in Las Vegas". 
  25. ^ Staff (April 10, 2013). "Rick Story replaces Gunnar Nelson, meets Mike Pyle at UFC 160". Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  26. ^ Dann Stupp (December 10, 2013). "UFC European Tour in London adds Gunnar Nelson-Omari Akhmedov". 
  27. ^ John Morgan (2014-03-08). "UFC Fight Night 37 bonuses: Alexander Gustafsson earns dual awards". Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  28. ^ Staff (2014-04-29). "Gunnar Nelson mætir ósigruðum Bandaríkjamanni í Dyflinni". Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  29. ^ @YourMMA. "LaFlare Injured, Nelson Gets New Opponent For UFC Dublin". Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  30. ^ Matt Erickson (2014-07-19). "UFC Fight Night 46 bonuses: McGregor, Nelson, Pendred, King win $50,000". Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  31. ^ Matt Erickson (2014-08-07). "Gunnar Nelson vs. Rick Story set for UFC Fight Night 53 main event in Stockholm". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  32. ^ Damon Martin (2014-10-04). "Rick Story upsets undefeated prospect Gunnar Nelson in Sweden". Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  33. ^ Gunnar Nelson MMA Stats, Pictures, News, Videos, Biography. (1988-07-28). Retrieved on 2012-02-26.
  34. ^ Gunnar Nelson – Fighter Profile at. Retrieved on 2012-02-26.

External links[edit]