Gegard Mousasi picked up a win in his UFC debut last night at ‘UFC On Fuel TV 9’, but it wasn’t his best performance – and that could well be explained by the fact that he was suffering from a badly injured knee before the fight even began.
Despite that he was able to comfortably outpoint late replacement Ilir Latifi utilizing a lightning quick jab that left the Swedish fighter’s increasingly bloodied over the course of three rounds, and later revealed he’s now going to require surgery.
“I don’t want to talk a lot about my injury, but I can tell that this injury, I’m pretty sure 95 percent wouldn’t fight, from other fighters,” Mousasi told the media after the fight. “You know, I stepped up, I didn’t cancel the show, you know, I don’t know, we go from here, you know.
“I don’t want to say anything yet, but it’s nothing small.”
That’s a real concern as the former Strikeforce champion spent much of 2012 on the sidelines due to a torn ACL that required surgery, so hopefully it’s not a recurrence of that problem as that would require another long layoff.
While he (perhaps wisely in hindsight) never stepped out of second gear in the fight, leading to somewhat of an anti-climatic main event, the fact that Mousasi fought at all under the circumstances wasn’t lost on UFC President Dana White who appeared grateful that he’d still stepped up to the plate.
“Mousasi, he had knee problems all throughout camp,” White stated at the post-fight press conference. “He checked with his doctor and his doctor said, ‘You can make it through this fight and then you’re going to have to have surgery after this fight.’ Kid wants to fight because he’s gonna come here and fight the #3 ranked light heavyweight in the world. He doesn’t want to give up this opportunity, he wants to fight [Gustafsson].
“Shows up here to fight him, it gets stopped on a cut … then, he’s training for this tall striker, he ends up getting this short, strong southpaw wrestler and still accepts the fight and takes it.
“Much respect to the guys in the main event.”
White also confirmed that despite his loss, Ilir Latifi will be rewarded for helping the UFC out at short notice with a second fight in the promotion.
And as a footnote, Mousasi wasn’t the only fighter competing with an injury last night – Ross Pearson also revealed after his victory that he suspects he broke his foot during his warm-up backstage!