UFC on Fuel TV 9 Preview

gegard-mousasi-ilir-latifi-ufc-on-fuel-tv-9-posterThe UFC will make their return to Sweden and will once again feature one of the biggest European stars in the UFC. Europeans have had a history in the UFC but they have yet to reach the pinnacle of success. There has yet to be a European champion in the UFC despite the big names that have set foot in the octagon. Instead the Americans and Brazilians, plus one Canadian, have ruled the top of the sport. In the last few years the talent coming out of Europe has increased with more exciting fighters than ever coming out of the region. There are a number of fighters representing many different countries and many different fighting styles. The English tend to be brawlers and boxers while those from Scandinavia look towards the long kickboxing history in the area. As the sport continues to grow athletes from the area are becoming well-rounded and better. European talent is growing in the UFC and it is only a matter of time before a European fighter takes the first UFC championship belt to Europe. The best hope for this has been Alexander Gustafsson and as the UFC went back to his home country many were hoping to see him take that next step. Then came a strange set of events that would change the look of the UFC on Fuel TV 9 card. On Sunday reports would begin to surface that Gustafsson had suffered a cut during training. Amidst a lot of rumours and Wanderlei Silva pulling an April Fool’s joke claiming he was in the main event now the truth finally came out on Tuesday. Gustafsson had suffered a cut in training and would not be cleared to fight by the Swedish MMA Federation. So the potential first European Champion would not be able to fight changing the main event completely. Gegard Mousasi would still be in the main event but instead of looking to put the division on notice he will be looking to prevent another fighter from making that very impact. Replacing Gustafsson was going to be a hard task as the fight was only 4 days out and having a fighter fly out to Sweden on short notice would be a hard sell. So the UFC went with a fighter inside Sweden in the up and comer Ilir Latifi who would get the call and except the fight on four days notice. Latifi had been a potential UFC fighter but was still a ways away from making a debut but that would change as he gets the opportunity of a lifetime this weekend. With a win Latifi could earn a contract in the UFC and a massive boost in his standing in the UFC. Gegard Mousasi was looking to do this exact thing against Gustafsson but will now make his debut trying to prevent Latifi from earning a big win. Not only does he take on a new role but Mousasi will also need to great a new gameplan for this fight. Gustafsson was a well-rounded fighter but loved to stand and trade while Latifi is a wrestler at heart. Ilir Latifi grew up wrestling and would become a Nordic champion in the sport and with so little time to prepare the best bet is that he will go to his comfort zone on the ground. Mousasi could try to fight that fight with 11 submissions in his career but his advantage may be the power in his hands. Mousasi has 18 KOs in his career and may try to overwhelm the young fighter who will be on an entirely new stage at this fight. Latifi will gain points for taking the fight on such short notice and needs to at least show he can hang with the fighters in the UFC if he wants to return. In the end though, it will be Mousasi who will win with a second round KO as he will take the win and move up the fighter rankings in the light heavyweight division.

Before Sweden gets to see one of their own, even if it wasn’t who they expected, two fighters will be looking to make their impact on a much smaller weight class. The lightweight division is one of the toughest and most talented in the UFC with more than enough fighters trying to get that lightweight belt. One fighter has been trying to work his way up since 2009 while the other will be making his UFC debut. Ross Pearson has been hovering around the middle of the division since winning The Ultimate Fighter in 2009. With a new focus Pearson would beat George Sotiropoulos and is trying to make a run to the top of the division. Meanwhile Ryan Couture has been making his name in Strikeforce where he has racked up a 4 fight win streak and a 6-1 record. Now Couture gets the chance to make an impact in the UFC as he will make is UFC debut and look to get his first win. Both fighters are hoping for the same thing as they want a win to get closer to a top 10 spot in the toughest division in the UFC.  For Pearson it is an attempt to finally meet the expectations he set out in winning The Ultimate Fighter. He is trying to finally break through the division and begin a serious win streak to put his name into the top 10. Couture is looking to continue his win streak against much tougher competition in the UFC to show he belongs. With a win he will be on his way to a top 10 spot and a chance to make a run at the title. The lightweight division will take focus before the light heavyweights face off as the UFC returns to Sweden with plenty to figure out on the card.


Fight Card

Main Event:
Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi vs. Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latifi (Sportsnet/Fuel TV)


Main Card:
Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson vs. Ryan Couture (Sportsnet/Fuel TV)

Matt Mitrione vs. Phil De Fries (Sportsnet/Fuel TV)

Brad “One Punch” Pickett vs. Mike “The Hulk” Easton (Sportsnet/Fuel TV)

Diego “Ceara” Brandao vs. Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza (Sportsnet/Fuel TV)

Akira Corassani vs. Robbie “Problems” Peralta (Sportsnet/Fuel TV)


Reza “Mad Dog” Madadi vs. Michael “The Menace” Johnson (Facebook)

Tor “The Hammer” Troeng vs. Adam Cella (Facebook)

Chris “The Kiss” Spang vs. Adlan “Borz” Amagov (Facebook)

Marcus “The Bama Beast” Brimage vs. Conor “Notorious” McGregor (Facebook)

Benny “Benny Blanco” Alloway vs. Ryan Laflare (Facebook)

Michael Kuiper vs. Tom “Filthy” Lawlor (Facebook)

Papy “Makambo” Abedi vs. Besam Yousef (Facebook)

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