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Bogdan Guskov of Uzbekistan reacts after his knockout victory against Zac Pauga in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 10, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Bogdan Guskov Wants To Establish Himself As A Contender

UFC Light Heavyweight Bogdan Guskov Sees A Golden Opportunity To Break Into The Rankings With A Win Over Ryan Spann At UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs Perez

It didn’t matter how or when to Bogdan Guskov, he had been working his whole life to make it to the UFC.  So, when the 31-year-old Uzbekistan native got the call to make his UFC debut against longtime contender Volkan Oezdemir, there was no hesitation. 

His debut took place in front of a sold-out crowd in Paris, and while jumping right into the deep end of the light heavyweight division didn’t pay off, it was a valuable learning experience for Guskov. He felt the presence of the big arena, and the entire process of a fight week away from home was all so new. The pressure got to him a bit.

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But the beauty of such a difficult start to his UFC journey is that his sophomore appearance came on a UFC APEX card, a rock’s toss away from the UFC Performance Institute where Guskov does his training camps. It couldn’t have been a more contrasting fight week for Guskov as he prepared to fight Zac Pauga.

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“I think the Performance Institute is the best place in the world for a fight camp,” Guskov told UFC.com. “It has everything. Perfect for rest and perfect for everything fighting.”

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Having all the resources right there at the PI, and already being familiar with everything that comes with a UFC fight week, Guskov felt much more comfortable heading into the Pauga fight.

Bogdan Guskov of Uzbekistan reacts after his knockout victory against Zac Pauga in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 10, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Bogdan Guskov of Uzbekistan reacts after his knockout victory against Zac Pauga in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 10, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

He also applied the lessons learned from that fight against Oezdemir and used that experience to eliminate the pressures that he felt that night in Paris, and it paid dividends in the form of a first-round knockout over Pauga.

The win set Guskov up for another fight with a ranked light heavyweight contender. This time, it will be Ryan Spann standing across from him in the UFC APEX Octagon at this weekend’s UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs Perez.

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Getting another highly ranked opponent shows that the UFC sees the potential in Guskov, and the Uzbek plans to prove them right.

“I love to rumble, and I love an aggressive style. There is a thirst for me to make a show. I want to fight beautiful and not leave a chance for the judges,” Guskov said. “This co-main event is a big step for my career. He’s top 11 and after this fight I’ll be top 11, and we’ll keep moving.”

Bogdan Guskov of Uzbekistan punches Zac Pauga in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 10, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Bogdan Guskov of Uzbekistan punches Zac Pauga in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 10, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“I hope this means top 10 after this fight. Only big names in my career after Ryan Spann.”

In his 15 professional wins, Guskov has racked up 12 first round finishes and he’s made it clear it’s his goal to add another one against Spann. Beating Spann in spectacular fashion would be a significant step in Guskov becoming a feared name at 205 pounds just three fights into his UFC tenure.

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How he gets the finish versus Spann? That’s not on Guskov’s mind.

“Oh, just a finish, brother,” Guskov smiled. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a beautiful choke or a beautiful knockout. A finish, that’s what’s important.”

Bogdan Guskov of Uzbekistan poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night ceremonial weigh-in at The Accor Arena on September 01, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Bogdan Guskov of Uzbekistan poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night ceremonial weigh-in at The Accor Arena on September 01, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Guskov sees Spann as more of a jiu jitsu playee and wrestler than a striker, which is where Guskov is confident that he’ll have the advantage. But with that said, he’s not ruling out beating Spann where he believes “Superman” will want to take the fight. He’s here to showcase his full game and that means being prepared for whatever Spann has to throw his way.

And he’s sure that he’ll shine bright in his biggest opportunity to date.

“Watch this fight,” he urged. “It’s going to be a big show, 100%.”

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UFC Fight Night: Nicolau vs Perez took place live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 27, 2024. See the final Prelims and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!