23-year-old Turkalj faced off against Gustafsson, 32, going the ten-minute distance with Sweden’s greatest UFC star on December 11 as they headlined the card of AK Fighting Championship 3 in Gothenburg. The grappling superfight capped off a mixed lineup of MMA, Muay Thai and submission grappling bouts.
According to MMANytt.com, the encounter played out predominantly on the feet and Gustafsson edged a points victory with momentary takedowns. However, the contest contained far more depth than that of a friendly roll.
Sharing the headline slot alongside a certified legend of Swedish MMA, Turkalj donned his aviators and made a flamboyant entrance to the sound of Justin Timberlake’s “I’m bringing back sexy back” while flanked by carnival dancers. If it was not already clear, the occasion served as the package intended to deliver and elevate the charismatic prospect as the man who Gustafsson’s torch may ultimately pass on to.
Following the event, Gustafsson discussed the potential of Turkalj with Sebastian Martinez:
During his amateur tenure from 2015 to 2018, Turkalj built an overall record of 11-3, 8-3 at the elite IMMAF level representing the Swedish national team at light-heavyweight. He is a 2017 Asian Open silver medalist, 2017 World Championships bronze medalist and 2018 European Open silver medalist. He has been on fire since turning pro with a debut victory in Romania and has since dominated Sweden’s professional scene, currently 4-0 with all wins coming via stoppage.
Also on the card, former IMMAF world champion Cornelia Holm (pictured above) secured her latest pro victory, charging through Amilia Kapri to force a second round TKO stoppage. Holm moves to 4-1 at the professional level and continues her momentum now with a 3-fight win streak.
By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran
Main Image: Stefan Romare | MMANytt.com