The Fight Report: UFC on FUEL TV 9

| April 1, 2013 | 2:22 pm | Reply

UFC on FUEL TV 9It’s always nice to see a big promotion test the Northern European waters, and with all the talent pouring out of the tundra and fjords, it’s no wonder UFC on FUEL TV 9 is stacked. Our main event features none other than Sweden’s fighting pride, Alexander Gustafsson, as he’ll look to take one step closer to a title shot. His opponent is the often underestimated and always dangerous Gegard Mousasi, who comes into this fight as one of the last Strikeforce transplants, and a former title holder in that promotion.

Nearly every single weight class is represented for this event so there’s something for everyone here.  So, let’s dig into the action going down at The Globe in beautiful Stockholm Sweden this weekend.

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Gegard Mousasi: A European can crusher that’s developed into a true nightmare at 205lbs, Alexander Gustafsson is inches away from a title shot. Having spent his career as a rangy sprawl and brawler, Gustafsson had a life-altering experience inside the UFC cage, dropping his first fight ever to Phil Davis and his blue chip wrestling skills. The thing that separates great fighters from good ones is the ability to recognize mistakes and adapt, and that’s exactly what Gustafsson did. Now training hard with Davis and other fighters in the Alliance MMA family, Gustafsson has honed his striking and added an entire wrestling dimension to his game.

On the flip side, we have Mousasi, whom seemingly has every dimension under his belt already. A lifelong boxer, kickboxer and judoka, Mousasi is equally lethal in any range or position in a fight.  Having only been upset once in the last seven years and with a full fight schedule in this time, he’s shown pin-point accurate punching, a solid base and submissions from every angle. Having never gotten the chance to regain his Strikeforce strap, Mousasi is geared up to make his case for a shot at the UFC belt.

If this fight were to happen three or four years ago, there’s no doubt in my mind Mousasi would give Gustafsson a firm spanking and send him on his way. Time waits for no man however, and while Mousasi is only twenty-seven years old, he’s had a full career already and he’s starting to look positively ragged in the cage. His power is still there and his technical abilities won’t be going anywhere, but in a pitched bout requiring a lot of mobility and fluidity, I can’t give him the nod. While Mousasi could get it done if he can get inside and land his power, Gustafsson’s entire career has been spent at the end of his own jab hand and he shouldn’t face any difficulty keeping Mousasi there. A great fight is brewing here, but defeat will be written all over Mousasi’s bloody face as the decision is read in favor of The Mauler.

[Update] Alexander Gustafsson was not cleared to fight by the Swedish Athletic Commission due to a cut above the eye and the UFC has signed Llir Latifi as the late replacement. The Mousasi vs. Latifi fight will remain as the main event but due to the late change will only be a three round bout.

Quick Reports:

Ross Pearson vs. Ryan Couture: Fresh off his win over George Sotiropolous, Ross Pearson will be the next UFC fighter to welcome a Strikeforce transplant, taking on Ryan Couture. This isn’t the fight I’d give a budding prospect like Couture unless you wanted to definitively sink someone you don’t care to have in your organization……. Anyways, Pearson’s tight boxing, functional strength and takedown defense make this a fight Couture will have a bear of a time with, lacking in the power needed to dump Pearson and being unable to land takedowns without his opponent’s forward momentum. Look for Pearson to keep it simple and batter Couture from bell to bell here, or perhaps score an early KO while Couture is still tight.

Matt Mitrione UFC on FUEL TV 9

Matt Mitrione (Picture by Joshua Wood)

Matt Mitrione vs. Phil DeFries: One of my favorite heavyweights in the game today, Matt Mitrione will take on Phil DeFries in an effort to get back on track. Mitrione has been a work in progress for years, being only one of two active fighters whose entire career has been the UFC. Despite starting in the deep end of the pool, he’s done fairly well for himself in developing his own style and keeping up with the rest of the pack. DeFries has improved from a one-dimensional BJJ throwback, adding a simple but effective striking game that compliments his natural reach. Mitrione has too many physical gifts to let DeFries get the better of him here, as he puts together the better combinations, avoids any takedowns, and puts DeFries down in the second round.

Brad Pickett vs. Mike Easton: My person FOTN pick, Pickett and Easton will look to bounce back from their respective losses. This is a tough one to pick, as Easton is the higher energy fighter, and generally far more mobile than his counterpart. Pickett, however, has the tighter overall game and superior power in the pocket, which could send Easton to the canvas if he gets too loose on the feet. With takedowns being mostly out of the question, this is a match I expect Pickett to win by the narrowest of margins, stunning Easton a time or two and moving forward consistently to grab a split decision.

Diego Brandao vs. Pablo Garza: A pair of underrated fighters to say the least, Brandao and Garza will look to implement their own unique styles in a fight that could launch them deep into the division.  Brandao’s pure offensive output is his greatest asset, as hardly anyone in the division could withstand it to take him into deep water, where he’s far less dangerous. Garza himself has terrific offensive capability, yet his love of low-percentage/high-risk strikes concerns me against someone with Brandao’s accuracy. On the feet, this plays out in Brandao’s favor, but it’s the mat work that’ll make this interesting, as Garza’s long limbs tangle with Brandao’s assassin-like precision. A close fight, but Brandao has more outs to win inside the distance and I expect him to zap Garza with strikes midway through the fight.

Akira Corassani vs. Robbie Peralta: A fight that should be over quick, one way or another, as Corassani takes on Peralta. Corassani is solid as far as overall technique goes, yet Peralta appears to be the better athlete, a bit quicker, and definitely the harder puncher of the two. Look for Peralta to work a conservative game plan on the feet, chopping away at Corassani and waiting for him to over-extend, where Peralta can line up the KO counter.

Reza Madadi vs. Michael Johnson: Madadi is one of my favorite Swedish fighters, but he draws a real bear of an opponent here in Johnson. What I like about Madadi is his seamless blend of wrestling and functional BJJ, yet Johnson’s fleet-footed approach has the potential to negate any sort of ground work in this fight. Madadi’s striking just isn’t up to Johnson’s level and if he can’t make this a ground battle, I see Johnson getting a late striking stoppage over the native.

Tor Troeng vs. Adam Cella: The first two fighters from the stellar TUF 17 to get into the cage, Troeng and Cella will fight for the chance to stay within the promotion. Troeng was an early pick to win the entire show from my perspective, but a slight defensive error put him out of contention. Even still, he’s a well-rounded fighter that has the work ethic to improve, and while welterweight is a better fit, this fight should be manageable. Cella isn’t a bad striker, but with a lack of power and being fairly one-dimensional, I don’t see him having too many outs to take this one. A workmanlike performance by Troeng should put Cella onto the mat and tapping within the first two rounds.

Chris Spang vs. Adlan Amagov: A very interesting pairing indeed here, as the natural athletic ability of Spang collides with the unorthodox Amagov. Both guys have some sizable flaws in their games, with Spang having a lack of in-fight adaptability and Amagov being far too wild for his own good. This could go to either man, as Amagov is incredibly difficult to plan for and can hit takedowns with ease, yet it’s when they’re not grappling he’ll be in trouble. Spang hits like a truck and I can easily see him blasting Amagov in an exchange or two, eventually sending the Russian fighter to the mat.

Marcus Brimage vs. Conor McGregor: An outrageously entertaining fight on the undercard, Marcus Brimage will welcome Conor McGregor to the UFC. McGregor is a top-notch fighter out of the UK, having captured titles in both the FW and LW divisions. A fast and furious striker who moves much like a lanky Demetrious Johnson, McGregor has torn through the UK circuit with relative ease. McGregor will need to fix his defensive flaws now that he’s fighting men who can take advantage of them, and Brimage will be a test for the newcomer that I don’t feel he’s ready for. Fast, accurate hands are what are needed against McGregor and I see Brimage landing early and often here, stunning McGregor in the first round for the win.

Michael Kuiper vs. Tom Lawlor: A fight that will determine who says and who goes in the UFC, Kuiper will bring his Dutch muay thai and judo into the cage against good old-fashioned American wrestling. I like Lawlor a lot, but it’s struck me over the last several fights that he’s either cutting far too much weight or simply doesn’t care anymore; looking flat and worn in several fights. Kuiper isn’t a world beater by any stretch, but he is a tough fighter with some zippy punches and a powerful base that can slow the pace of this fight and make Lawlor work harder than he can handle. It could be a tight one, but I think Kuiper can do enough damage and control the clinch for a decision win.

Don forget, the UFC on FUEL TV 9 starts early!

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Category: Featured, MMA, UFC

Mike Hammersmith (Featured Staff Writer)

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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