Gegard Mousasi (pictured) was pegged as a whopping 14-to-1 odds-on favorite against Ilir Latifi at UFC on FUEL TV 9. For obvious reasons, most fans expected Mousasi to quickly dispose of the last-second substitute.
However, Mousasi had many baffled when he wasn’t able to muster up more than his lightning-fast left jab on Latifi for a unanimous decision victory. Nonetheless, UFC president Dana White couldn’t be more pleased with Mousasi.
Huh? Dana, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ couldn’t posterize an opponent who had to cut 27 pounds on three days’ notice.
As it turns out, Mousasi entered Sweden with a wounded wheel. A knee so banged up that his physician is demanding he have it operated on immediately after Saturday’s scrap.
Mousasi is a fighter’s fighter and that’s why White is beaming. “The Dreamcatcher” refused to pull out when he was supposed to headline the show against Alexander Gustafsson, a fight where Mousasi had everything to gain. He kept the same show-must-go-on mentality when Latifi replaced Gustafsson because of an eyebrow gash, a bout where Mousasi had everything to lose.
“Mousasi, he had knee problems all throughout camp,” White revealed 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.”
A torn ACL forced Mousasi to sit the sidelines for all of 2012. Neither White nor Mousasi confirmed if he’s having issues with that same knee, or when the 27-year-old is expected to return following surgery.
Mousasi bumped his professional record to 34–3–2 after his highly anticipated big league debut.