Following Alexander Gustafsson’s withdraw from UFC on Fuel TV 9 due to a laceration, Gegard Mousasi will now face Ilir Latifi, according to an announcement made by UFC President Dana White on Tuesday.
Latifi, a training partner of Gustafsson, will step up on short notice to feature on the main card for the Saturday event in Stockholm, Sweden.
Unknown to many MMA fans, Latfi (7-2, 1 N.C.) has spent some time fighting in smaller promotions and is currently on a three-fight win streak. His most recent outing showed him earning a unanimous decision over Jorge Oliveira at Superior Challenge 8 in October 2012.
Gustafsson’s withdraw from Saturday’s fight was made official Tuesday, after initial reports suggested that the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation (SMMAF) wouldn’t allow the Swedish fighter to compete with a laceration on his head that he sustained in training.
“As it is clear that Alexander Gustafsson will not be fit to compete as planned and cannot be medically cleared on Friday the 5th of April,” the SMMAF said in a press release, “the SMMAF Medical Committee has today decided that Alexander Gustafsson will not be allowed to participate in the planned match on April 6th.”
Mousasi (33-3-2) enters the fight on the eve of his UFC debut. A proposed bout with Wanderlei Silva was rumored to be a replacement with the loss of Gustafsson, but Silva later revealed that his comments about accepting the fight were an April Fool’s prank.