Gegard Mousasi defeated Ilir Latifi tonight at ‘UFC On Fuel TV 9’, but it wasn’t his most impressive performance and the late replacement made it the full three rounds.
Mousasi starts the fight with a leg kick. Latifi tries to return the favor and misses, going off-balance in the process. Mousasi lands a strike and Latifi awkwardly looks for a takedown and misses.
Mousasi stalking Latifi, faking punches and generally taking his time and settling into the fight. Latifi goes for a takedown again and it’s a slightly better one, but Mousasi stuffs it comfortably.
Back to the stalking and there’s a bit of a stand-off with neither man throwing much offense. Mousasi has his hands fairly low and relaxed, apparently not worried by his opponents striking.
Latifi throws absolutely everything into an overhand and completely misses. He looks a little tense out there, and that’s understandable having been thrown into this situation at such short notice.
Mousasi’s firing off the occasional swift jab that’s landing, but he’s still in second gear at the moment. Latifi tries to coax him into a brawl, motioning him to come forward and swinging a few looping punches that miss their target, but Mousasi doesn’t react and the bell signals the end of the round.
Back to the cagey striking game early in the second with Mousasi almost exclusively using the jab. Latifi’s been having difficulty finding his range, but he’s starting to land with a few punches of his own.
He loads up on another huge strike, but Mousasi’s steering clear of those telegraphed punches. You have to wonder if Mousasi’s maybe hurt his right hand because he’s barely using it at all. The jab’s been effective though as Latifi’s bleeding from at least one cut to his face.
Latifi barrels forward for a takedown, but it’s stuffed and Mousasi’s back to peppering his already bloodied face with the jab. Mousasi’s hands are down at his waist now, almost baiting his opponent in, but when latifi swings he moves quickly out of range.
Not a great deal of urgency from either man here and we’re heading for a third round.
Latifi fires off a rare leg kick to start the round. A left and a right land for Mousasi. Latifi goes for a spinning kick to the head, but there’s nothing doing and a leg kick misses too shortly afterwards. He’s just struggling to land at all given Mousasi’s superior use of range.
Mousasi stiffening up on the jab, but still not putting together the kind of combinations that he’s capable of. Latifi lands a rare shot on Mousasi which brings a bit of a cheer from the Swedish fans.
Then it’s back to business as usual with more jab work from the former Strikeforce champion. It looks like he’s happy to just cruise to victory, but in the final minute Latifi surprises him with a takedown and starts landing some huge ground and pound strikes.
That gets the crowd on their feet, but it’s too little, too late and the bell sounds. Onto the judges scorecards then and it’s Mousasi who gets the unanimous decision win (30-27 x3).