UFC on Fuel 9: 3 Things to Watch for at Mousasi vs. Latifi

Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterApril 5, 2013

Jan 12, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Gegard Mousasi  enters the ring in his bout with Mike Kyle (not shown) in their Strikeforce MMA Light Heavyweight bout at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The chance of a lifetime for Ilir Latifi

Never before has there been a fighter with so much to gain and so little to lose as Ilir Latifi. 

Well, that's not entirely true, is it? Liz Carmouche had the same opportunity in February when she faced Ronda Rousey: everything to gain with a win and absolutely nothing to lose with a loss.

But Latifi may have even less to lose than Carmouche. He did agree to replace Alexander Gustafsson on just four day's notice, after all, and that's gotta count for something even if he goes into the cage and gets smoked by Gegard Mousasi. 

And make no mistake about it: everyone expects Latifi to go his tail handed to him on Saturday in Sweden. As of this moment, he's a +750 underdog to Mousasi, which means he's a 7 and a half to one underdog. Yes, that's significant.

But who cares what the odds say? He's not expected to win, and so he can go in the cage and let it all hang out. Even a losing effort in less than 30 seconds likely won't see him expelled from the promotion, because he saved the company and gave them a main event when they were looking down the barrel of a gun loaded with Ryan Couture vs. Ross Pearson.

Not only does Latifi's volunteering for the fight give him an instant UFC contract—when, let's face if, they weren't exactly quick to attempt to sign him before he agreed to step in on late notice—but it likely earns him at least two fights. The UFC can sometimes be grateful to those who help them out in their time of need, and that'll be to Latifi's benefit no matter what happens on Saturday.

And besides: he's got a better chance of winning than most people believe he does. He's a good wrestler, and we've seen Mousasi exploited by wrestlers in the past. I don't think it'll be pretty, but he has a chance to win the fight and derail Mousasi's hype train before it ever gets started on UFC tracks.


Ryan Couture, first second-generation UFC fighter

It's fitting that Ryan Couture is the first-ever second generation UFC fighter. Fitting because father Randy is one of the cornerstones of the UFC's history—even though he'll likely be whitewashed from that history now that he and Dana White don't get along once more—and fitting because the name Couture reverberates with MMA fans more so than just about any other name. It's true. Just ask them.

I have no loft expectations that the younger Couture will achieve anything remotely close to what his father pulled off in the Octagon. He got a late start and looked super rough during his early Strikeforce bouts, but we've seen him improve by leaps and bounds over the past year or so. And sure, he probably didn't deserve to beat K.J. Noons in his last fight, but he kept it close enough to allow the judges to execute the kind of bad decision they're mostly known for these days.

But still, even if Couture the Younger doesn't go on to fame and fortune, he's still the first-ever second generation fighter in the UFC. The son of a UFC Hall of Famer. That's a pretty cool moment for the sport.


Conor MacGregor vs. Marcus Brimage

 I don't have much to say about this on, other than this: watch this fight, because it's likely going to be your fight of the night, or at least a top contender for the award.

If you haven't caught MacGregor's act on the UK-based Cage Warriors promotion, well, let's just say you're in for a treat and then some. And you know Brimage is always good for a good time.

Watch this one. Tune into Facebook. You won't regret it. And, if you do, just forget I ever wrote this.