Swedish Rocky Comes up Short (UFC on Fuel TV 9 Review)

UFC on Fuel TV 9: Mousasi vs. LatifiThere was never a more appropriate walk out song than Ilir Latifi’s at UFC on Fuel TV 9 when “Eye of the Tiger” came blaring over the speakers at the Ericsson Globe arena. The song from Rocky would perfectly express the situation that Latifi found himself in as he had quickly been crowned the Swedish Rocky. Only a few days ago Latifi was not on the radar of many UFC fans as he continued to train and fight for a number of smaller promotions. Then came a call from the UFC giving him the chance of a lifetime. While training the weekend before his main event fight at UFC on Fuel TV 9, Alexander Gustafsson would get a cut on his forehead. Because of this cut Gustafsson would not be eligible to fight as the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation would not clear him. So Gegard Mousasi was left without an opponent pushing the UFC to try to find a replacement with four days notice. This is where Latifi would come in as he would get the call from the UFC and accept the fight on short notice. He would get an opportunity that rarely comes about as he would get a shot at a main event in the biggest MMA league in the world. Nobody expected much from the Swede as he had only four days to prepare and would take on someone who many considered one of the best light heavyweights in the world. Gegard Mousasi had spent months preparing for a fight with the #2 ranked fighter in the UFC’s light heavyweight division to make his mark and show where he belongs. Then out of nowhere the entire fight changed as he was now the overwhelming favorite and not the eager UFC newcomer. There was really nothing to lose for Latifi as he was not expected to win and if he did would have one of the most surprising results in UFC history. Meanwhile Mousasi was on the other end as he had everything to lose with a loss completely crippling his hopes of making a run at the light heavyweight title. The fight had been flipped in so many day with only four days until the fight as the Rocky story of the UFC was right there for the taking. Both fighters had a clear gameplan going in without even stating what they were. With only four days until the fight both fighters were simply going to play to their strengths as Mousasi would look to stand up and use his range while Latifi would try to take the fight to the ground using his wrestling background. That is exactly what both fighters would do as the fight would start with Latifi looking for the takedown immediately. Mousasi would stuff the takedowns staying just far enough away to render the shots useless. This is how it went for the rest of the fight as Mousasi would stay within his range and out of Latifi’s range.  Latifi would not be completely shutout though as he would get his shots in and almost looked to get the advantage on the feet. It would not be enough though as Mousasi would get the better of Latifi in the fight and would get the Unanimous Decision victory. For Latifi the loss was somewhat expected but by taking the fight with only four days notice he would be a winner gaining the respect of the UFC and the fans. Don’t be surprised to see Latifi back in the UFC soon with a full training camp to show what he can do. The win for Mousasi will not give him a title shot but he did win continuing his life in the UFC and another matchup with Gustafsson could be in the next fight he will get.

The main event would feature two newcomers to the UFC and that would be a theme of the night with newcomers all over the fight card. The co-main event would feature one such fighter as Ryan Couture would make his UFC debut against Ross Pearson. For Couture it was a chance to follow in the footsteps of his father and UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture and begin a career in the UFC. He would look to do so against a very good lightweight fighter in Ross Pearson. As Couture started his career Pearson was just looking to get some momentum in his. After a few years of struggling to find his place Pearson had just begun to make an impact in the division and was looking to continue that in this fight. After an initial stumble in the first round Pearson would show what experience can do in the UFC. Pearson would use his experience to not get overwhelmed at the fact that he lost the first round to a more inexperienced fighter. The more experienced Pearson would come back in the second and earn the KO as he would take the win spoiling the debut of Couture. The win would be a very good one for Pearson though as he would show his evolution in the UFC. Pearson took the win and likely gained some ground in his attempt to make a run at the lightweight title in a very tough division.

 

Fight Bonuses
($60,000 to each fighter)

Submission of the Night
Reza Madadi was one of the most fired up fighters of the night in front of his home crowd and he would use that passion to win his fight in spectacular fashion beating Michael Johnson with an Anaconda Choke in the third round

Knockout of the Night
In a night of UFC debuts Conor McGregor stood out as he would win his first fight in the UFC and show everyone that the hype surrounding the young Irish fighter was founded earning a first round KO against Marcus Brimage

Fight of the Night
Many people were excited to see two brawlers like Brad Pickett and Mike Easton face off and the people got their money’s worth as both Pickett and Easton would earn the Fight of the Night for their three round war

 

Fight Card

Main Event:
Gegard Mousasi def. Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latifi
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Main Card:
Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson def. Ryan Couture
(TKO, Rd. 2)

Matt Mitrione def. Phil De Fries
(KO, Rd .1)

Brad “One Punch” Pickett def. Mike “The Hulk” Easton
(Split Decision)

Diego “Ceara” Brandao def. Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza
(Submission; Arm Triangle, Rd. 1)

Akria Corassani def. Robbie “Problems” Peralta
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Undercard:
Reza “Mad Dog” Madadi def. Michael “The Menace” Johnson
(Submission; Anaconda Choke, Rd. 3)

Tor “The Hammer” Troeng def. Adam Cella
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

Adlan “Borz” Amagov def. Chris “The Kiss” Spang
(Unanimous Decision)

Conor “Notorious” McGregor def. Marcus “The ‘Bama Beast” Brimage
(KO, Rd. 1)

Ryan LaFlare def. Benny “Benny Blanco” Alloway
(Unanimous Decision)

“Filthy” Tom Lawlor def. Tom Kuiper
(Submission; Guillotine, Rd. 2)

Papy “Makambo” Abedi def. Bessam Yousef
(Split Decision)

 

Upcoming Events 

TUF 17 Finale: Faber vs. Jorgensen (Saturday April 13th; 9:00 pm ET)
– Las Vegas, Nevada (Mandalay Bay Event Centre)
Main Event: Urijah “The California Kid” Faber vs. Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen
Notable: TUF 17 Finals to be determined
Notable: Miesha “Cupcake” Tate vs. Cat Zingano

UFC on Fox 8: Henderson vs. Melendez (Saturday April 20th; 8:00 pm ET)
– San Jose, California (HP Pavilion)
Main Event: Benson “Smooth” Henderson vs. Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez [Lightweight Title]
Notable: Frank Mir vs. Daniel “DC” Cormier
Notable: Nate Diaz vs. Josh “The Punk” Thomson

UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen (Saturday April 27th; 10:00 pm ET)
– Newark, New Jersey (Prudential Center)
Main Event: Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Chael Sonnen [Light Heavyweight Title]
Notable: Michael “The Count” Bisping vs. Alan “The Talent” Belcher
Notable: Roy “Big Country” Nelson vs. Cheick Kong

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