UFC On Fuel 9: Gegard Mousasi issues statement on late replacement

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his hopes to fight on Saturday in his homeland, Alexander Gustafsson has been officially forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout. In his place, his teammate Ilir Latifi will face Gegard Mousasi. Following the announcement, Mousasi gives his thoughts on the change.

As most will already know, reports came out Sunday afternoon that expected headliner Alexander Gustafsson suffered a cut in his eyebrow while training which jeopardized his main event status for UFC On Fuel TV 9. Despite Dana White's promise that the fight was still on, many doubted the claim as SMMAF commission doctor had already stated that the fight would almost certainly be cancelled. On Tuesday, those doubts were confirmed when Alex was unable to get cleared by the commission.

Shortly after, the UFC announced that Ilir Latifi would replace Gustafsson against Gegard Mousasi. Mousasi issued a statement today after what must have been a stressful few days (via MMA Junkie):

"Gegard and our team are disappointed to not be able to compete against Alexander Gustafsson," Mousasi stated. "However, we understand the fight business and wish Alex a speedy recovery. We want to thank Ilir for stepping up last minute to take this fight. Gegard intends to make a great show with a strong performance for all the fans. Thank you to Dana White, Joe Silva and the rest of the Zuffa team for working so diligently on this matter. Now it is time to fight and make a great show for the fans!"

While the title implications for the fight have certainly been lost, this will most likely give Gegard the opportunity to impress in his UFC debut since he opened as an 11:1 favorite over Latifi. The event is set for this Saturday, April 6 at the Ericson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden.


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