Saturday, April 6, 2013 | 3:40 p.m.
Note: Full results from the preliminary card available at the bottom of the page.
Perhaps Alexander Gustafsson can refer a doctor to Ilir Latifi.
The Swedish MMA Federation earlier this week controversially ruled Gustafsson unable to fight against Gegard Mousasi at UFC on Fuel TV 9 after the light heavyweight suffered a cut above his eye in training that required three stitches. Latifi, Gustafsson’s training partner and late-notice replacement, figures to need more sewing up than that after facing Mousasi on Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden.
Mousasi bloodied Latifi’s face in several places with a constant jab that led the former Strikeforce champion to a unanimous-decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in his UFC debut.
“I thought I had the advantage striking-wise,” Mousasi said while still in the octagon. “I took advantage of that.”
Wildly swinging haymakers throughout much of the fight, Latifi found moments of success but never strung anything substantial together for more than a few fleeting seconds.
The bout was every bit as lopsided as the minus-1000 betting line on Mousasi made it out to be. The upside is, the result could lead back to the original plan of Gustafsson vs. Mousasi.
“Alexander is a gentleman and a true sportsman,” Mousasi said. “I wish him the best recovery, and maybe next time we can do it.”
Mousasi revealed afterwards that an injured knee, which will require surgery, kept him from performing at his best against Latifi. He wasn’t the only winner hampered by a late malady.
Ross Pearson, who beat Ryan Couture by second-round knockout, broke his foot in the locker room before the co-main event. The first warmup kick he threw missed the pad and hit trainer Eric Del Fierro’s elbow.
“I was like, ‘Oh, what kind of night is going to be?’” Pearson said.
Pearson didn’t need his foot to beat Couture. He instead relied on two predictable weapons and one unforeseen one — his fists and patience.
Couture kept away from Pearson in the first round, effectively circling and only engaging on his own terms. It wasn’t until the second round that Pearson tracked the UFC newcomer down and cleanly landed a combination up against the fence.
Couture tumbled to the ground in violent fashion before the referee stepped in to call off the fight.
“I was just not over-committing too much,” Pearson said. “I think I’ve gotten a little bit older, a little bit wiser about a lot of fights now.”
Mousasi practically repeated the same line, saying he fought Latifi smartly. It wasn’t an ideal situation with Gustafsson enduring what UFC President Dana White called the “worst decision I have ever seen to pull (a) fight.”
But White can rest easy knowing he can rebook that fight now.
Read below for the rest of the results from UFC on Fuel TV 9.
Anyone who looked down might have missed the lone heavyweight bout on Saturday’s card. It lasted 19 seconds. Matt Mitrione knocked out Phil De Fries with ground-and-pound strikes after De Fries hurt himself by colliding with Mitrione on a failed takedown attempt.
Bantamweights Brad Pickett and Mike Easton made up for the lopsided nature of the top three bouts with a Fight of the Night performance. After a spirited 15 minutes, someone was bound to go home disappointed with the decision. It wasn’t Pickett, as he pulled out the split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29) over Easton.
Showcasing his Brazilian jiujitsu chops, featherweight Diego Brandao had his best showing since winning the 14th season of “The Ultimate Fighter”. Brandao submitted Pablo Garza at 3:27 of the first round with an arm-triangle choke.
Robbie Peralta and Akira Corassani both had their moments in a featherweight bout that turned into a striking exhibition, each fighter memorably rocking the other in the second round. But Corassani ultimately came out on top over Peralta by virtue of a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Michael Johnson was a punch or two away from finishing Reza Madadi in the first round of their lightweight bout. The American will likely bemoan his lack of killer instinct against the Swede for weeks to come. Madadi stormed back to submit Johnson at 1:33 of the third round with a d’arce choke.
In a battle between two middleweights who bowed out in the second round of the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Tor Treong beat Adam Cella. Treong submitted Cella with a rear-naked choke at 3:11 of the first round, bringing the fight to the ground after eating some strikes early.
Adlan Amagov took every round as he cruised to a unanimous-decision win over Chris Spang. Both welterweights were crossing over to the UFC for the first time after logging time in Strikeforce.
Marcus Brimage had upset highly touted bantamweights in two straight fights. He couldn’t make it three in Sweden, barely lasting a minute with Irish prospect Conor McGregor. McGregor defeated Brimage via TKO at 1:07 of the first round.
New York-based welterweight Ryan LaFlare kept on the winning track in his UFC debut, improving his perfect professional record to 8-0. LaFlare routed Brian Alloway with a unanimous-decision victory in which he won every round on every judges’ scorecard.
Tom Lawlor submitted Michael Kuiper at 1:05 of the second round in their middleweight bout. Kuiper scored a couple takedowns in the first round, but it was Lawlor who out-grappled his opponent from there and locked in a guillotine choke.
Papy Abedi beat Besam Yousef by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) in a welterweight bout. The result hinged on a close second round, a frame that the media overwhelmingly awarded to Yousef but the judges gave to Abedi.