Gustaffson will root for Latifi vs Gegard Mousasi

Apr 06, 2013, 04:22 IST | Ashwin Ferro

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Alexander Gustafsson is undergoing mixed feelings right now. Sweden's star Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter is "deeply disappointed" to have been ruled out of today's feature fight against Iranian Gegard Mousasi at the Ericsson Globe Arena here due to injury.

However, on the other hand, the light heavyweight ace is excited at the prospect of his training partner Ilir Latifi locking horns with Mousasi.  “I am 100% ready to fight even now but unfortunately I suffered a cut above my eye during training and the MMA Commission has ruled me out on safety grounds,” an excited Gustaffson told MiD DAY.

Alexander Gustafsson
Alexander Gustafsson

Last year when Gustafsson fought here in Sweden as UFC made its entry into the country for the first time, the venue sold out in three hours flat, and the attendance record was the highest for any sporting event at the Globe here. Gustafsson won a three-round unanimous decision against Thiago Silva then.

“I remember that (last year)… it was easily the best thing I have ever done in my whole life. The crowd here in Sweden loves MMA and they turned up in huge numbers to show their support for me too,” said the 26-year-old, who began his career as a boxer before moving to MMA where he has a 15-1 win-loss record.
So will his absence this time hurt Swedish fans then?

“I won’t be absent… I will make sure I’m there for the fans and more importantly to support Ilir Latifi, my former training partner who will step up to take on Mousasi. With or without me, I’m confident Saturday’s UFC event will be a huge success.

“I am not underestimating Latifi at all. He has worked with me and I know how strong a fighter he is. He is a great grappler and I will not be surprised if he stuns Mousasi. People feel Mousasi (sixf-foot-one) enjoys the better reach, will be in a better position to strike hard and so will win easily. However, I believe Latifi can bring him down. I’ll be screaming my lungs out for Latifi and I’m sure he can pull off a stunning win here,” said the 6-foot-5 Swede.  

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