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UFC on Fuel 9 Results: 5 Key Takeaways from Gustafsson vs. Mousasi Card

Nathan McCarterFeatured Columnist IVDecember 8, 2016

UFC on Fuel 9 Results: 5 Key Takeaways from Gustafsson vs. Mousasi Card

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    UFC on Fuel 9 featured 13 fights and capped the night off with a dominant performance from Gegard Mousasi.

    Mousasi utilized his jab to pepper Ilir Latifi for three rounds and coast to a victory.

    The card lacked overall significance. There wasn't a contender's fight on the card, but several fighters made their cases to get back to more important fights in the future. It was what a Fuel card should be.

    Here are five takeaways from Saturday's card.

Diego Brandao Is Improving Well

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    Diego Brandao came off of The Ultimate Fighter as a prospect to watch.

    After winning the finale he was pitted against Darren Elkins, and his overaggressive nature got him in trouble. It was a problem he had always had, but against lower-level fighters he found ways to win.

    In his last two outings, Brandao has shown patience to go along with his skills. He is beginning to let the fights come to him, and he is looking like the prospect we thought he was.

    He took care of highly touted prospect Joey Gambino at UFC 153 and finished Pablo Garza on Saturday. He has likely earned himself a bigger bout in the division, and it should be fun to watch Brandao's progression.

Conor McGregor Is For Real

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    Conor McGregor entered with much fanfare. He is an interesting character who was finishing his fights outside the UFC.

    Marcus Brimage was not supposed to be an easy out for him, but he was.

    McGregor's striking was on point. His uppercut pasted Brimage.

    The Irishman is already booked for the UFC's return to Boston. It is likely his performance has earned him a main-card spot on that card—impressive for his second UFC fight. He is a featherweight to keep your eye on. The hype seems to be for real.

The UFC Should Have Promoted Tom Lawlor to the Main Event

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    When Alexander Gustafsson wasn't allowed to fight Gegard Mousasi, it left the UFC in a pickle. They had few options.

    Yet, they still chose the wrong one.

    It is nothing against Ilir Latifi, but the UFC needed to choose someone who would throw caution to the wind in an attempt to upset Mousasi. They needed to choose someone who would have made that fight exciting. Latifi didn't.

    Tom Lawlor would have. He's just crazy enough to get in and get dirty with Mousasi.

    Instead, we got 15 minutes of a Mousasi jab. It was evident after the first couple minutes what was in store for us. The UFC had a 50/50 chance and missed.

Matt Mitrione Gets It

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    His nickname may be "Meathead," but Mitrione is anything but.

    After the knockout win he was asked what he wanted in his next fight, and he spoke truthfully. He mentioned that he is still growing as a fighter, and that was his focus. It's not the first time he has shared this sentiment, but it is an accurate one.

    Too often do we see prospects jumping the gun in MMA. They want big fights, and they want them now.

    Mitrione wants to grow as a fighter before putting himself in a bad position. He knows he has flaws, and he is working to correct them.

    It will be interesting to see what the next version of Mitrione looks like.

The Card Was Actually Decent

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    After Gustafsson was pulled, the card underwent a lot of scrutiny.

    Is the UFC running too many events? Are cards too top-heavy? Maybe, maybe not.

    However, this card was unjustly criticized from the beginning. If anyone looked at the full slate they would see that there were several fun fights waiting to entertain the masses. And they, more or less, delivered.

    This wasn't a pay-per-view or even a Fox card. This was a Fuel card. It shouldn't have fighters like Gegard Mousasi or Alexander Gustafsson. It should utilize the mid- and lower-level fighters. It is about building them for the bigger events.

    We were treated to skilled finishes and good back-and-forth action. I think it was a success.

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