Veteran Gegard Mousasi just found out his opponent days ago after injury forced Alexander Gustaffson from their fight (Photo by Ryan O'Leary, Sherdog.com).
UFC On Fuel Main Event Breakdown
Written by Chris Cox (@CoxFight), Contributing Writer
It is a good week, sports fans. Baseball is back in full swing, and my Braves took a season opening series against the Phillies. Not only is baseball back on the radar, but our favorite sport of MMA is still rocking. Bellator’s season came to a close on Thursday night, but we have a full month of fights coming here in April for the UFC. This weekend, the UFC returns to Sweden for a card I was pretty stoked about until the main event got altered a bit.
The original main event was set to be Alexander Gustaffson vs. Gegard Mousasi. This fight was going to be huge for the division because these are two guys near the top who could easily be challenging for a title. Gustaffson is coming off a pure destruction of Shogun Rua, and Mousasi is one of the top Strikeforce prospects who came over in the merger. However, it was announced early this week that Gustaffson had suffered a cut during training, forcing him out of the show in his home nation.
The main event is now Gegard Mousasi vs. Ilir Latifi. I am not even going to lie to you guys. I have been following this sport for years. I literally had no idea who this guy was and had to go do research on him. His 7-2 record is really not that impressive with any wins that really stand out to validate him as a main event slot. He is in the same camp as Gustaffson, so he has been undergo similar training. Experience-wise, he does not match up with Mousasi at all, though. The only person who he has fought who could be a big name is Emanuel Newton, recent winner of the Bellator Light Heavyweight tournament. In that fight, he met defeat via unanimous decision.
Now, this would be upset of the year if Latifi was to come in and somehow find the spot on the chin of Mousasi to put him out, but I cannot see that happening. In 38 fights, Mousasi has never been knocked out, and that is including his amateur boxing career, as well as his kickboxing record. What I am basically saying is that I don’t even give this guy a puncher’s chance. Mousasi is a Black Belt in Judo, and he is going to come in and bring the fight to the overmatched Latifi. He is looking to make a splash in the UFC, and I am sure this is not the opponent that he wanted to do it against.
This fight will only be three rounds instead of the normal five rounds that UFC main events normally are. This is due to the short change in opponent for Mousasi, who had a full camp and is ready to impress. He is used to facing people varying in size due to the fact that he travels between middleweight and light heavyweight. I have Mousasi finishing this fight, and I will be highly surprised if it goes to a decision. A second round TKO is what I am calling.
After that, I sincerely hope that the UFC finds a way to get the fight between Gustaffson and Mousasi lined back up because these are two guys who are legitimate contenders in this division. The match-up between the two fighters is sure to be a fantastic one.
Stay tuned to Resolution Sports for my predictions on the rest of card in Sweden!