Gunnar Nelson didn't need much time to earn an impressive victory over Bryan Barberena at UFC 286 on Saturday.
Nelson claimed a first-round submission victory over his 33-year-old opponent, locking in an armbar and ending the bout at 4:51 of the opening stanza.
The Iceland native wasted little time getting Barberena off his feet with a takedown midway through the round, after which it was just a matter of time before Nelson went for the submission. But instead of immediately looking to end the fight, Nelson followed the single-leg takedown with a series of elbows to the head of his opponent as he looked for an opening.
"Yeah, I wanted to take my time," Nelson said on the broadcast following the bout. "I wanted to keep that pace, that feel that I was feeling just like stay on that pace."
Nelson did just that, continuing to land stunning blows before locking in the finisher.
He's just too crafty on the ground 😮💨@GunniNelson with the armbar finish! #UFC286 pic.twitter.com/qDOp1FwtLm— UFC (@ufc) March 18, 2023
Nelson anticipated more of a fightback from Barberena, but ultimately it was a one-sided affair that ended in the 13th submission victory of the 34-year-old's career.
"I was expecting him to explode a little bit more, to be honest, to try to get up like really hard, but I think he didn't want to hurt his back," Nelson said.