UFC Betting Matchups: Mousasi Gets Thrown Into the Fire Against Gustafsson in UFC Debut

Gegard MousasiOne of the hidden gems coming to the UFC roster from Strikeforce is light heavyweight contender Gegard Mousasi, who is still relatively young, yet extremely experienced. If all goes well for him, he will likely be challenging for the UFC title within a year. His debut fight in the UFC, however, against Alexander Gustafsson in his home country of Sweden at UFC on FUEL TV 9 on April 6 will not be an easy task by any stretch. In fact, it is a trial by fire! Mousasi is just 27 years old, and he already boasts an excellent MMA record of 33-3-2. This includes wins over the likes of Mark Hunt, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, Hector Lombard, Melvin Manhoef, Renato "Babalu" Sobral along with many other well-established stars in the sport. He is highly skilled on the ground with his submissions and a dangerous striker who has competed in kickboxing matches at a high level as well. Mousasi is a talented athlete who has competed everywhere from 185 pounds (middleweight) through heavyweight, and he has excelled. In his most recent fight at the last Strikeforce event, Mousasi made short work of veteran Mike Kyle, who he took out with a rear-naked choke towards the end of Round 1. For his part, Gustafsson will have several advantages in the bout. As well as fighting in his hometown of Stockholm, Gustafsson is a year younger and will have height, weight and reach advantages over Mousasi. Though it may not mean as much with a guy like Mousasi, this will be his ninth UFC fight, so he is battle-tested in the Octagon, and he has maintained a fine record of 15-1 himself. His last outing was an impressive unanimous decision victory over Mauricio Rua, where he showed excellent patience in executing a game plan that broke Rua down. Rua is a former UFC and PRIDE champion and still considered one of the best light heavyweights in the world. Mousasi has fought bigger men throughout his whole career though and solved the problem of what to do with them by winning a lot of fights. When he is on, Mousasi is one of the most relaxed, fluid fighters in the game today. But in his most recent setbacks, an April 2010 loss to King Muhammad Lawal and a draw with washed-up Keith Jardine a year later, Mousasi looked a bit uninspired. Those two high-profile bouts may affect the impression Mousasi will make with the betting public for his UFC debut. Like most fighters crossing over from Strikeforce, Mousasi will likely be very motivated coming into the UFC. He shared management teams with legendary Fedor Emilianenko, so over the years, negotiations with the UFC have really gone nowhere. Now that he is with the UFC and under contract, Mousasi may see big money at the end of the tunnel. Should he stumble against Gustafsson, a move back to middlweight is not out of the question even though Mousasi has been at light heavyweight for several years now. Regardless of whether he fights UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones or middleweight champ Anderson Silva, both men would likely find Mousasi one of their biggest challenges. Mousasi does not want Gustafsson to get in the way of his championship aspirations. It is going to be an interesting fight to set MMA odds for at the sportsbooks, as the linemakers have tended to give added weight to UFC experience. Gustafsson is expected to come into this bout as a slight favorite, so taking a chance on Mousasi as an underdog might be a very good bet to make.

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About the Author

Miguel Iturrate

Miguel Iturrate

Miguel Iturrate has been involved in MMA since 1997, and he has been a follower of the sport for much longer. Iturrate has been a Matchmaker for over 100 Mixed Martial Arts events including Euphoria, MFC, FightForce, AFC (Florida), HOOKnSHOOT and BodogFIGHT. Currently an MMA and Boxing contributor for MMAOB.com, TheBoxingChannel.com and IBOP Archivist.

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