As expected, Gegard Mousasi breezed through his UFC debut against Ilir Latifi at UFC on Fuel TV 9 in Sweden.
Mousasi came out and controlled the fight from the very beginning. He didn't score a fancy finish like many expected, but he controlled the distance well in the stand-up department and slowly picked apart the stocky Latifi.
Latifi came in as a heavy underdog after stepping in on short notice, but he put on a good effort. Despite being completely overmatched, he hung tough for three rounds and even scored a takedown late in the fight.
It wasn't a fight that will have fans buzzing for very long, but Mousasi put in a successful debut and Latifi showed that he's tough enough to warrant a second shot in the UFC with a more conventional scenario this time around.
Here are a few potential matchups for each fighter going forward.
Mousasi did what he had to do against Latifi, now he should be rewarded with the marquee fight he was originally given.
Gustafsson had to withdraw from the fight due to a cut over his eye suffered in training, but he's still one of the top contenders in the light heavyweight division. He's coming off of a win against Mauricio Rua and could be one more win away from a title shot.
Mousasi could pose some problems for the lanky striker and a win would automatically put him in title contention.
Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes Winner
Mousasi's win wasn't enough to propel him up the light heavyweight rankings, but a win over the winner of Phil Davis and Vinny Magalhaes would put him in contention.
Davis and Magalhaes are set to face off at UFC 159. Both are experts on the ground with developing striking skills, so they would present an interesting matchup for Mousasi.
This is another matchup that would afford Mousasi the opportunity to rise up the ranks with a win.
Latifi put on an admirable performance on late notice. He came up short against Mousasi, but it would be interesting to see what he's able to do with the benefit of a full camp to prepare.
At the very least, the UFC could stash him on the roster for the next time the organization heads to Europe. If they do that, a matchup with Perosh makes sense, the organization has used him primarily in international events.
Perosh is coming off of seven-second loss to Ryan Jimmo, but holds three wins in the UFC. He's a skilled grappler and would provide a true litmus test for Latifi's credibility as a UFC fighter.
Ovince St. Preux vs. Gian Villante Loser
There aren't many low-end options at 205 pounds on the UFC roster for Latifi to fight next, but a matchup against the loser of the St. Preux and Villante fight makes sense.
The two former Strikeforce fighters are set to make their UFC debuts against one another at UFC 159. St. Preux recently loss to Mousasi by unanimous decision, so there's a common opponent there that could make this fight interesting.
The loser of this fight could take on Latifi with the loser most likely receiving their release.