An Early Betting Look at UFC on FUEL TV 9

UFC on Fuel 9With the recent losses of Brit Michael Bisping and Holland’s Stefan Struve, the winner of the UFC on FUEL TV 9 event between Gegard Mousasi and Alexander Gustafsson will be left as the foremost European star in the UFC. The event takes place April 6th in Stockholm, Sweden and is the next event up on the UFC schedule. Right now at Several Bookmakers Gustafsson is a comfortable favorite at -255, with the comeback on Mousasi at +215. Also on the main card, Randy Couture’s son Ryan Couture (+345) is a huge underdog against the UK’s Ross Pearson (-430) and ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ alumni Matt Mitrione (-335) is favored heavily over Philip De Fries (+275). In fact, the only fight on the main card without a large favorite is the co-main event between Brad Pickett (-145) and Mike Easton (+125). The more important issue for bettors is: Are any of these big dogs live? In the headliner, Mousasi may certainly deserve a look, returning more than 2 to 1. Gustafsson is very good, and when his competition level rose, he rose with it, taking out Mauricio Rua to extend his winning streak to six. Mousasi however, is an underrated gem who may have value as this big an underdog. Mousasi is one of the calmest athletes you will ever see, and he has a wide and diversified game that allows him to succeed standing or on the ground. He has a vast wealth of experience as he is approaching 40 fights at a high level, and he is just one year older than Gustafsson at 27 years old. Mousasi is much lesser known, and although he was seen in a flat performance against a faded Keith Jardine that soured some on him, he has lost just once in nearly seven years. Apologies to fans of “Shogun”, but Mousasi clearly presents the best opponent Gustafsson has faced since Phil Davis. One would think that heading into his UFC debut, Ryan Couture is fighting under a great deal of pressure. His Hall of Fame father took the high road in his very public feud with the UFC, but Randy certainly wanted to be in the corner with his son for his first fight in the Octagon. He stated in the press that the commission would decide if he could corner or not, and because Sweden does have its own sanctioning body (unlike Brazil or Japan), there is still a chance he will be there on fight night. In terms of the individual who will actually be in the cage, Ryan is 6-1 in his career and he is a talented, hard-nosed fighter. He has actually exceeded any expectations set out for him in the MMA world upon his debut. At the same time, at only 6-1 he was unlikely to come over to the UFC if he had a different last name. Ross Pearson is coming off an appearance on ‘TUF UK vs Australia’ as a coach and he won the grudge match with George Sotiropoulos emphatically following the show. He is tough and more experienced, but may struggle with Couture’s wrestling and pressure as a smaller lightweight. Most have Pearson pegged as the far more seasoned striker, and while they are correct, the same was true of KJ Noons in Couture’s last bout as well. Perhaps, like the main event, the line has grown too long in this bout. Matt Mitrione has a few things in common with Ryan Couture, in that his name recognition far outweighs his MMA experience. Mitrione is an alumnus of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and he had a cup of coffee or two while bouncing around on practice squads in the NFL. He is 5-2 overall, and he is 34 years old which is a little bit too long in the tooth to still be learning the nuances of the sport. He is coming off two losses in a row and desperately needs a win. Philip De Fries might be tailor made for that, as he is 2-2 in the UFC and has a rather unremarkable level of competition. If neither man can finish his opponent, the judges decision will come down to who can keep the fight in their realm. Mitrione will want to stand and strike as he has the advantage there, while De Fries is the more seasoned grappler. Also, if this fight makes it to the third round, it will not be pretty — like most heavyweight bouts. Luckily, these fighters have only gone to decision three times in a combined 19 fights so we’re likely to see a finish at some point in this bout. Mitrione’s takedown defense has not proven the most stout throughout his career thus far, but at the same time De Fries doesn’t have a plus wrestling game to get him to the mat. If one of the large favorites is justified, this is likely it. So if you are looking to place some bets at plus odds in the coming weeks, there are a few wide lines on this card, with Mousasi and Couture being underdogs who may be deserving of some consideration. Aside from a betting perspective, the Gustafsson-Mousasi match is especially one to watch as the winner will likely be in line to challenge Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title down the road.

Written by Miguel

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