UFC on Fuel TV 9: Mousasi vs. Latifi preview for Stockholm, Sweden

April 4, 2013


UFC on Fuel TV 9: Mousasi  vs. Latifi preview for Stockholm, Sweden

While Saturday’s main event may have seen a “slight” change, the rest remain the same. Six solid fights grace the main card, each with interesting style match ups. Out of the 12 fighters are the card, seven are from outside North American, bringing a truly international flare to the event.

Gegard Mousasi makes his UFC debut riding a three fight win streak. The former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and current top ten fighter has long been considered one of the best outside the UFC and for good reason; a 33-3-2 record, 18 wins by (T) KO, a wealth of international experience and some pro kickboxing success are just a few reasons why The Dream Catcher has been so sought after. One knock against Mousasi in the past has been his wrestling, although it has improved as he has begun using it offensively in recently.

Replacing Alexander Gustafsson will be fellow Swede Ilir Latifi. Latifi is actually a training partner of Gustafsson, so he should know the game plan. The 29 year-old is a short light heavyweight, standing only 5’8 but using it well with his submission wrestling style and has had success in grappling, winning previous European ADCC trials. He’s also accomplished in MMA, holding a 7-2 career record with a win over solid veteran Tony Lopez. He’s on a three fight win streak, having last lost to Bellator tournament winner Emanuel Newton. One big difference between Latifi and Gustafsson is their striking; Latifi’s not as developed, so he will likely wish to take the fight to the mat and keep it there.

The co-main event sees two fighters coming off a win, although one was far more decisive than the other. England’s Ross Pearson is fresh off coaching on the Ultimate Fighter and a knockout win over George Sotiropoulos. Pearson will look to put his fast hands to use here, as he hasn’t had back to back wins since early 2010. If there’s one knock against Pearson, it’s that he (like most fellow Brits) is lacking in the ground game department.

History will be made on Saturday, as Ryan Couture, son of The Natural, will make his UFC debut.  It will also be Couture’s first fight not contested under the Strikeforce umbrella. Last time out, Couture took a decision against KJ Noons in a fight that many thought Noons clearly won. Unlike his father, Couture has a very diverse striking array that includes spinning back kicks. It’s probably best for Couture if he avoids the striking game though and attempt to ground his opponent.

Matt Mitrione has shown much improvement after competing on the Ultimate Fighter, winning his first five UFC appearances. A step up in competition resulted in two straight losses for Meathead, as he was unable to beat division main stays Cheick Kongo and Roy Nelson. The owner of heavy hands and an even heavier chin, Mitrione is best known for his brawls. Opponents have found success against Mitrione if they are able to get him up against the cage or put pressure on the former NFL lineman.

Phillip De Fries came into the octagon undefeated but has since alternated wins and losses. Most recently, he received a TKO from Todd Duffee at UFC 155. De Fries’ element is clearly the floor, as eight of his nine career wins have come via submission. It would be nine were it not for the resilience of Rob Broughton. If the fight goes to the ground, look for De Fries to hunt for the rear naked choke, his weapon of choice. For all of his great ground work, De Fries seems tentative and unsure on the feet, which isn’t good when facing someone like Mitrione.

Brad Pickett returns to put his two fight Europe winning streak on the line. While Pickett lost his European UFC debut to Renan Barao, he has bounced back to take wins over Damacio Page (in Sweden) and Yves Jabouin (England).  Pickett seems to always bring it when he travels across the pond, which makes him dangerous here. Pickett may have lost his last bout against Eddie Wineland (in the United States), but in the loss his boxing looked crisp as ever. Unlike a lot of fellow countrymen, Pickett is very adept on the ground, owning 10 career submission wins.

Pickett has a tough opponent in this one, as he takes on The Hulk. Mike Easton is coming off his first loss in since 2007 and is looking for revenge. Last time out, Easton lost a decision to Rafael Assuncao which erased an eight fight win streak. The current number nine ranked fighter in the bantamweight division should look to put himself closer to a title shot with a win here. The majority of his wins have come by submission, thanks to a strong clinch game. Look for that to be the game plan here.

Sweden will see a dose of pure violence, as Diego Brandao returns to the cage. Win or lose, Brando has proven to be down-right nasty, bringing all of his octagon opponents close to a finish. Brandao accumulated a lot of losses early in his career, but has proven to be almost perfect since May 2010, save for a defeat to Darren Elkins. The owner of a BJJ black belt, Brandao also has 9 wins via knockout.  Brandao has had gas tank problems in the past, but may have corrected it, as he looked fine in his win over Joey Gambino.

Facing Brandao will be Pablo Garza. Garza failed to make the house on season 12 of the Ultimate Fighter, but that didn’t stop him from making an impact in the UFC. Garza won his first two official fights in spectacular fashion. From there it was two straight losses, but Garza has since rebounded with a win over Mark Hominick. While he may have a flying knee KO on his record, Garza is more comfortable with his submission, as he has seven wins by submission but hasn’t tapped anyone in two years.

Kicking off the main card will be Robbie Peralta. He made his UFC debut in September of 2011, defeating the over matched Mike Lullo by decision. Next up was a win over Mackens Semerzier which was overturned to a no contest after it was revealed a clash of heads lead to the finish of the fight. Last time out, Peralta looked very impressive, TKO’ing Jason Young in less than 25 seconds. Here, Peralta looks to add to his nine fight win streak.

Opposing Peralta will be home town favourite Akira Corassani. Corassani made his name on The Ultimate Fighter season 14, where he defeated Dustin Neace in the first round. Controversy surrounded the fight, as many fans believed Corassani had fake tapped. In the next round, Corassani faced Dennis Bermudez and again we saw a fake tap. It didn’t work this time though, as Bermudez was still able to secure the win. In his official UFC debut, Corassani defeated Andy Ogle by a decision that some felt should have gone the other way.


Main Card

–          Gegard Mousasi vs. Ilir Lafiti

–          Ross Pearson vs. Ryan Couture

–          Matt Mitrione vs. Phillip De Fries

–          Brad Pickett vs. Mike Easton

–          Diego Brandao vs. Pablo Garza

–          Robbie Peralta vs. Akira Corassani



Follow John Boldrick on Twitter @JohnBJournalism



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