Gunnar Nelson says RDA’s win was a cheat sheet to prep for Bryan Barberena at UFC 286

LONDON – Gunnar Nelson knew where he’d succeed in his return to the octagon.

Nelson (19-5-1 MMA, 10-5 UFC) took on a battle-tested Bryan Barberena (18-10 MMA, 9-8 UFC) on the main card of UFC 286 at The O2 in London. It was his first fight in a year, and though his absence was long, his performance was not.

Nelson submitted Barberena with a first-round armbar and said he knew the finish would be there given Barberena’s most recent performance against former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.

“He showed some weakness in Bryan’s game,” Nelson said at the UFC 286 post-fight news conference. “I think Bryan knew that, and I’m sure he was working on them. I’m sure he was working his wrestling a lot.

“I actually tried that trip that RDA got him down with, and he defended it nicely. I think he was aware of it because we were crawling on the cage back and forth, and I think he was thinking about it a lot. I gave it a little go, and he defended it nicely.”


Gunnar Nelson def. Bryan Barberena at UFC 286: Best photos

With the win, Nelson now is on a two-fight winning streak. At 34, he’s unsure when or against whom he would like to return, and left his fighting career to a wait-and-see approach.

“I’m not really focused on names,” Nelson said. “Right now, I’m just going to go back home, focus on the team and stuff like that. We’ll see. Right now, I don’t know (when I want to return).”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie