UFC on FUEL TV 9 Picks: Gegard Mousasi (-1200) vs. Ilir Latifi (+775)

ilir-latifi UFC on FUEL TV 9 Ericsson Globe Arena, Stockholm, Sweden Saturday, April 6, 2013 Light heavyweight fight: Gegard Mousasi (-1200) vs. Ilir Latifi (+775) Fight Breakdown: The main event of UFC on FUEL TV 9 is a mismatch of epic proportions as former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi takes on Ilir Latifi, who is an injury replacement for Alexander Gustafsson, in a three-round light heavyweight bout. Mousasi is currently a massive -1200 favorite (bet $1200 to win $100), while the comeback on Latifi is at +775 (bet $100 to win $775). Mousasi (33-3-2) is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and enters the UFC after a fantastic 4-1-1 run in Strikeforce, including a win over Renato “Babalu” Sobral that netted him the collapsed promotion’s light heavyweight strap. The 27-year-old Mousasi — who holds notable career victories over Mark Hunt, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and Hector Lombard — is talented everywhere, with big knockout power and submissions for days. However, the one knock on him is that he’s been lazy and hasn’t worked hard, as well as the fact he’s always fought undersized in the 205-pound division. But in this particular matchup against Latifi those things shouldn’t really matter, because his opponent is taking this fight on four day’s notice. There is no excuse for Mousasi to lose this fight, so look for him to implement his gameplan right off the opening bell and try to score an early stoppage victory. Latifi (7-2) is a complete unknown and is making his UFC debut on only a few days’ notice after Gustafsson was forced out with a cut above his eye. Latifi is his training partner and while he might be a decent fighter himself, he’s nowhere near as talented as Gustafsson is and that’s the guy that Mousasi has been training for for the last three months. The 29-year-old Latifi has to make this fight dirty if he’s going to pull off the giant upset. He needs to use his wrestling and bulk on Mousasi and wear him down, because if he stays standing he’ll likely get knocked out, and if he’s not careful on the ground he could get submitted. Look for the Swede to show a lot of heart in this fight, which will take place in front of his Swedish fans, but he doesn’t have much of a chance to win. Fight Prediction: Mousasi can win this fight any way he wants to. If he wants to knock Latifi out, he can do that. If he wants to submit him, he can do that, too. And if he wants to be lazy and cruise to a decision, he can as well. But honestly, I think Mousasi is going to want to get this fight over with quickly, so look for him to hurt Latifi badly on the feet in the first and finish him off with some devastating ground and pound. Adam’s Pick: Mousasi via T/KO (click for latest MMA odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: Mousasi is going to win this fight, but it’s still dangerous to lay -1200 on anyone, especially after what happened to Muhammed Lawal recently in Bellator. Instead, pass on the moneyline, and look for value in the Inside the Distance, T/KO, Submission, and Fight Ends in Round 1 props.

Written by Adam Martin.

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