STOCKHOLM – UFC officials undoubtedly owed him a favor, so not surprisingly, late-notice UFC on FUEL TV 9 headliner Ilir Latifi will get another opportunity in the organization.
Latifi (7-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who filled in for injured teammate Alexander Gustaffson on just five days’ notice, suffered a lopsided unanimous-decision loss to Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in today’s UFC on FUEL TV 9 headliner.
However, he’ll get another fight.
“He will,” UFC President Dana White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the FUEL TV-televised event. “Absolutely he will.”
In their light-heavyweight headliner, Mousasi bruised and bloodied Latifi with a steady stream of jabs. The Swede found some life in sporadic spurts, including late in the fight, but Latifi did little to impress the judges, who all scored the fight 30-27 for his opponent.
Mousasi, of course, went from fighting Gustafsson, a tall and lanky striker who’s currently ranked No. 6 in the USA TODAY/MMAjunkie.com MMA light-heavyweight rankings, to the unheralded Latifi, a stocky wrestler who had never fought for one of the sport’s bigger fight organizations. But by stepping up to replace Gustafsson, whose facial cut required three stitches this past week, Latifi allowed UFC officials to keep a Swede in the main event, which took place at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena.
Latifi said he cut 27 pounds in three days to make the 206-pound limit for the fight.
“This has been the most intense week of my life,” he said after the fight.
White didn’t say whom Latifi could fight next, though he’s an obvious choice for any future European cards.
For complete coverage of UFC on FUEL TV 9, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.