It may not have been pretty, but former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi got the job done in his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut with a unanimous decision victory over Ilir Latifi in Stockholm, Sweden.
"Dream Catcher" was in a no-win situation going in to the UFC on FUEL TV 9 main event after originally scheduled opponent Alexander Gustafsson was pulled from the card by the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation (SMMAF) just days before the event, leaving Mousasi with a complete unknown for an opponent.
The UFC brass managed to scramble enough to find a replacement main event and Mousasi should be applauded for taking a short-notice fight in a situation where others would not.
As for his performance, Mousasi left much to be desired despite putting a 15-minute shellacking on Latifi. The 27-year-old could have attacked his overmatched opponent with a little more zest and killer instinct, but it's easy to understand the reason he would be conservative in such a high-risk fight, especially considering he was injured and sick as he told Kenny Florian in his post-fight interview.
There is a contingent of people who would like to see the UFC rebook the Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Gustafsson match up, and this writer agrees; however, Mousasi revealed after the event that he will need knee surgery, which could keep him out of action for a long period of time.
The extent of the Dutchman's injury is unknown other than him saying it's not a minor injury, but when he is indeed ready to return to the Octagon, any fighter in the Top 10 of the Light Heavyweight division will suffice.
There are several intriguing 205-pound match ups on the horizon in the coming months and options are limitless.
Mousasi could face the winner (or loser) of UFC 159's Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes, UFC 160's Glover Teixeira vs. James Te Huna, UFC 161's Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans or Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Any of those match ups sound like they would make for interesting fights and more importantly are exactly the type of bouts for which fans have been clamoring since the days Mousasi ruled the Strikeforce light heavyweight division.
With his Octagon debut behind him, Mousasi can now go under the knife, heal from his injuries and begin phase two of his UFC career.
Who would you like to see Mousasi face next? Let us know in the comments section below.