UFC President Dana White announced that the UFC on FUEL TV 9 card scheduled for Stockholm, Sweden on April 6th sold out roughly 15,000 tickets in a matter of hours. The also announced several bouts in support of the Alexander Gustafsson versus Gegard Mousasi main event, including a Heavyweight bout pitting ‘TUF’ alumni Matt Mitrione taking on Philip de Fries and a Lightweight bout pitting Ryan Couture against ‘TUF’ England vs Australia coach Ross Pearson. Neither fight has lines up yet, so let’s take an early look.
White was vocal in the press this week about Randy Couture signing a deal with SPIKETV and Bellator, and he stated that Couture would not be allowed near a UFC event, and would not be able to corner his son, Ryan for UFC bouts. For his part, Couture stated he wanted to take the high road, and that the issue of being a cornerman was a commission issue, to be decided.
The answer here was simple, book the young Couture in Sweden, where there is no athletic commission with the regulatory powers they have in the USA, and it is highly unlikely that Couture will be in his son’s corner come fight time.
The young Couture (who at 30 years old isn’t that young) is 6-1 as a pro and has more than a half dozen amateur fights under his belt, and he has won 4 in a row, including a tough Split Decision win over KJ Noons in his last outing.
White has promised to be fair with Ryan, and the matchup would seem to be fair. Pearson is a solid fighter but not a world beater, and he has competed at featherweight as well, so look for Couture to be the bigger and stronger of the two fighters. Couture will still be fighting under a lot of pressure and scrutiny, and it will be interesting to see if Randy somehow tries to push the issue of cornering his son. Don’t look for White to relent.
After a promising start to his MMA career, former NFL player Matt Mitrione has dropped two fights in a row and is in desperate need of a win. DeFries is 2-2 in his UFC career and in the same boat.
Both are interesting fights with long term repercussions. Will Ryan Couture feel comfortable in the UFC? Will Mitrione get his career back on track? I look for both men to open as favorites when the lines hit the books, and depending on how wide big a favorite, the underdogs may begin to have value here. More on these fights as wel get closer to the card and the lines are released.