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UFC on Fuel 9 Results: Grades for Every Main-Card Fighter

Scott HarrisFeatured Columnist IVJune 18, 2016

UFC on Fuel 9 Results: Grades for Every Main-Card Fighter

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    UFC on Fuel 9 went down Saturday from Stockholm, Sweden. The bed-headed phenom Gegard Mousasi. The immortal Ilir Latifi. "The Scarecrow" Pablo Garza. The globular sporting arena

    But if you live in the United States, perhaps you missed it, seeing as how it aired Saturday morning and afternoon. Did you have "other plans?" Do you have a "life outside of watching MMA fights?"

    That's where I come in. I ushered my grandmother out of the house. I barricaded myself in the basement. And I watched every contest, Facebook and Fuel. In other words, I acted like a responsible adult.

    And now, you can reap the fruits of my anti-socialism. Rejoice! Here are the grades for every main-card fighter. 

Akira Corassani: A-

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    Division: Featherweight
    Result: Akira Corassani def. Robbie Peralta by unanimous decision

    Heavy underdog Corassani made himself hard to hit, but not at the expense of aggression. He traded big shots with Peralta and hit takedowns down the stretch to earn the decision in front of his countrymen.

    In his post-fight interview, Corassani called the fans "his third lung." That's kind of gross. But it's also kind of touching.

Robbie Peralta: C-

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    It was big "problems," if you get my meaning, for Robbie "Problems" Peralta.

    Fighting for the first time on a UFC main card, Peralta landed some very good shots, but looked tentative on the follow-up. Later in the fight, he had no serious answer for Akira Corassani's takedowns. 

    Peralta is too talented not to bounce back, but his first UFC defeat leached some air out of the proverbial balloon.

Diego Brandao: A

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    Division: Featherweight
    Result: Diego Brandao def. Pablo Garza by submission (Arm triangle choke), 3:27 of Round 1

    He has exorcised the recklessness. For the second straight fight, Brandao flashed a more controlled brand of fury, and Saturday, he controlled Garza every second of the way.

    Brandao landed a takedown and latched on a choke it seemed clear would quickly force a tap. And that it did.

Pablo Garza: D+

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    After looking much improved in his win over Mark Hominick, Garza didn't look like much of anything against Brandao—except a really tall, skinny dude who was super-susceptible to takedowns. 

Brad Pickett: A-

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    Division: Bantamweight
    Result: Brad Pickett def. Mike Easton by split decision

    Pickett stayed focused in the face of a highly competent opponent in Easton, landing big, diverse shots and fishing for submissions through all three rounds. He also became the first UFC fighter to land a takedown on Easton. So that's pretty good. 

    In the end, Pickett was just a bit better than Easton. He was favored to win, and that's what he did.

Mike Easton: B

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    Mike Easton had gained a bit of a reputation for being a highly skilled fighter who put on highly boring fights. He did his best to turn that around against Pickett.

    He ended up losing a split decision (and it probably should have been unanimous, for the record), but Easton was more active in all phases than he's ever been, and it was a refreshing complement to his trademark watertight defense.

Matt Mitrione: A-

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    Division: Heavyweight
    Result: Matt Mitrione def. Phil De Fries by knockout, 0:19 of Round 1

    Maybe "Meathead" should change his nickname to "Bonehead." Or better yet, "Bonehip."

    Because, apparently, Mitrione's granite pelvis did all the work Saturday when the demographic checkmark that is Phil De Fries shot in for a takedown and bounced away unconscious. There's your ballgame.

    You know what I'd like to see next for Mitrione? How about fellow De Fries victimizer Todd Duffee? I believe I'd watch that.

Phil De Fries: F

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    I know it was kind of a freak thing. I know the heavyweight division is thin. And I know the UFC needs as many British fighters as possible in its stable.

    But come on. Let's close the book on the Phil De Fries Era. How am I living in a world where Jon Fitch is not good enough to be in the UFC right now, but De Fries is?

    Nothing against De Fries, but I don't think I'm breaking any news here. His only UFC wins are over Rob Broughton and Oli Thompson. His three losses—all knockouts—lasted an average of 1:02. 

    Plenty of other money-making options out there, to be sure, for a man like De Fries. I wish him Godspeed in exploring those options. 

Ross Pearson: A

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    Division: Lightweight
    Result: Ross Pearson def. Ryan Couture by TKO, 3:45 Round 2

    It took Pearson a while to break through Couture's defense, which essentially involved maintaining a perimeter that would have given Dhalsim fits.

    He grew more comfortable as the fight went on, however, and toward the end of the second frame, he got his chance and took it. He finally completed a combination to hurt Couture, and a winging left hook more or less finished the job.

    "The Real Deal" is now 2-0 with two knockout wins since returning to 155 pounds.

Ryan Couture: C-

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    I was uncertain about how to score Ryan Couture. On the one hand, he may very well have stolen that first round by avoiding big flurries and scoring from the clinch (sound familiar?). It was more of the same in the second until Pearson finally found the radar lock.

    On the other hand, he got knocked out halfway through a fight plenty of fans believed he hadn't fully earned.

    We'll see if the UFC gives "The Natural's" son another chance, perhaps against a slightly more humane level of competition. Personally, I'm not holding my breath.

Gegard Mousasi: B+

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    Division: Light heavyweight
    Result: Gegard Mousasi def. Ilir Latifi by unanimous decision

    It wasn't what I'd call an impressive performance based on its absolute value.

    But the picture changes when you splice in the context. Under the circumstances, did you expect anything different?

    In his UFC debut and fighting a relative no-name with a thorny style on less-than-a-week's notice, Mousasi needed to avoid a shocking upset, collect his win and move on to the next one. Mission accomplished.

Ilir Latifi: C

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    I give Latifi credit for taking the fight on less than a week's notice, and I give him credit for going all three rounds (even if a stoppage wasn't exactly threatened). 

    He could have been more aggressive with his takedown attempts, or his standup for that matter. But he gets a passing grade for hanging in there and stepping up when his name was called.

     

    Follow me on Twitter " target="_blank">@ScottHarrisMMA

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