Matt Mitrione at UFC 119The popular opinion heading into the heavyweight showdown between Matt Mitrione and Phil De Fries at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in Stockholm was that the loser might soon be in search of a new job.

The two heavyweights were originally slated to meet at UFC 155 in December, but Mitrione was pulled from the fight to headline the TUF 16 finale a couple weeks prior against Roy Nelson – a fight Mitrione lost in the first round via a vicious knockout.

With Mitrione losing his last two Octagon scraps, and De Fries being 2-2 in his UFC career, both fighters were in need of a convincing win on Saturday.  And with just 19 seconds gone in the first round, the fighters’ career paths became a bit clearer as Mitrione battered De Fries into a fight-ending TKO.

With eight of his nine career wins coming via submission, De Fries shot on the heavy handed slugger as the opening bell sounded. For “Meathead,” a man who has made his name being an unbridled, fan-friendly stand-up artist, he quickly sprawled on the predictable attempt, pushed him into side guard, and reigned down his fight-ending ground and pound.

“Honestly man, I’m developing talent,” said a giddy Mitrione post-fight. “I was out for a long time, so I appreciate the UFC giving me this fight.”

Mitrione wasn’t kidding either. This was only his second fight since December 2011, and it silenced some harsh critiques that the Indianapolis native was receiving after suffering back-to-back losses to Cheick Kongo and Nelson.

The former NFL prospect is now back in the win column, and it comes for the only organization the 6-2 fighter has ever competed in.

“The UFC has been great to me and it’s been the only show I’ve ever been in,” added Mitrione. “Whoever they think it’s appropriate for me to get down (with next), let’s get down.”

At 2-3 in the UFC, De Fries has some work to do, no doubt. But with the rather thin heavyweight division and his BJJ prowess, it’s not unreasonable to think we may see him back in the cage before he gets handed his walking papers.

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