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Mousasi outclasses Latifi at UFC in Sweden

The Canadian Press

4/6/2013 5:56:08 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Gegard Mousasi won a unanimous decision over Ilir Latifi in the headline bout Saturday at the UFC on FUEL TV 9 in Sweden.

Latifi (7-3), who stepped in for injured training partner Alexander Gustafsson on just four-days notice, was outclassed by the favoured Mousasi (34-3-2) for the entire 15-minute affair at Ericsson Globe Arena.

In the end, all three judges had the fight scored 30-27 in Mousasi's favour.

Latifi, a Swedish native, enjoyed the full support of his countrymen during the fight, as the crowd cheered him on to pull off the upset. Unfortunately, Mousasi's takedown defence remained strong throughout the fight, and a pinpoint jab busted up Latifi's face.

Latifi was dominated from start to finish, but did score a late third-round takedown that brought the crowd to life. However, he was unable to capitalize on the position before the bell sounded to end the fight.

If there was criticism of Mousasi's performance, it was that he was perhaps too patient, but he explained the strategy was a necessary one.

"Coming into this fight, I was injured and last week I got a cold," Mousasi said. "I didn't go berserk. I thought I had it striking-wise, and I took advantage of that.

"I know he's a wrestler, so I didn't want him to close the distance. I fought smart. Some people lay and pray -- so maybe I did a little of that with the standup."

UFC history was made in the evening's co-main event, as Ryan Couture (6-2) -- the son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture -- became the promotion's first second-generation fighter.

Unfortunately for him, the experience wasn't all that pleasant.

After a rather uneventful first round in which he controlled opponent Ross Pearson in multiple clinches against the cage, the British striker came alive in the second round and begin to outstrike Couture on the feet. Couture tried desperately to slow things down, but Pearson shucked off his takedown attempts and begin to rifle off punches.

Caught flush on the chin, Couture crumpled to the floor, where additional punches sealed the result for Pearson at the 3:45 mark of the second frame.

Pearson revealed after the bout that he likely broke his foot in the evening's pre-fight warmup.

Also Saturday, heavyweight Matt Mitrione (6-2) scored a 19-second knockout of Phil De Fries (9-3) when the British grappler was caught with a short right hand during a takedown attempt. Mitrione immediately pounced on his stunned opponent, and series of quick punches earned the quick stoppage.