Morning Report: Jon Jones blasts Chael Sonnen; Wanderlei Silva says he's fighting Gegard Mousasi

Josh Hedges, Getty Images

What a weird situation. Any of the other 364 days of the year, if Wanderlei Silva tweets that he's fighting Gegard Mousasi on six days notice at UFC on FUEL 9, we all believe him. But if it's April Fool's Day, and the likes of Tim Kennedy have already done the same, then who knows what to think?

So, that being said, here's where we stand. Silva announced Monday afternoon that the UFC contacted him to replace Alexander Gustafsson against Mousasi at UFC on FUEL 9. UFC President Dana White subsequently refuted that claim, telling MMAFighting.com's own Ariel Helwani, "Gus is still fighting! It's April fools. Stay of [sic] twitter and the net today!"

Nonetheless, Silva continued to insist his announcement wasn't just the truth, but that he was also in the middle of packing his bags in order to fly out to Sweden on Tuesday morning, telling Brazilian outlet Tatame, "You can celebrate because daddy is in the house again."

(For what it's worth: yes, Mousasi already accepted Silva's "challenge"; yes, that fight is a violence aficionado's wet dream; and yes, "You can celebrate because daddy is in the house again," may be the greatest line ever.)

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Silva says he's fighting Mousasi. Wanderlei Silva announced on Twitter that he agreed to replace Alexander Gustafsson against Gegard Mousasi at this weekend's UFC on FUEL 9 event in Stockholm, Sweden. UFC President Dana White disputed Silva's claim, however Silva insisted the announcement was not an April Fools joke and that he was packing his bags to fly to Sweden on Tuesday, telling Brazilian outlet Tatame: "You can celebrate because daddy is in the house again."

Jones blasts Sonnen. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones blasted his upcoming opponent, Chael Sonnen, in a UFC 159 pre-fight interview. "He just doesn't believe, and that's why he comes up short in every opportunity he has to be a champion," said Jones. "He doesn't have a champion's soul, heart, work ethic. Nothing. ... He's not a champion. He's not made out of championship stuff. He just wants that spotlight. He wants that opportunity. He wants that big fight, and I'm gonna give him what he wants. I will defeat Chael Sonnen in an extremely devastating fashion."

The MMA Hour. Following a one-week hiatus, Ariel Helwani and the The MMA Hour return with another stacked lineup featuring Gegard Mousasi, Dan Hardy, longtime broadcaster Mauro Ranallo, Ross Pearson, Bec Hyatt and NBC personality Michelle Beadle.

Kyle returns. Strikeforce veteran Mike Kyle ended his brief retirement to fight Valentijn Overeem at a Championship Fighting Alliance event scheduled for May 24, 2013 at the Bank United Center in Coral Gables, FL.

RYU exits fight game. Facing mounting losses, MMA apparel brand Respect Your Universe (RYU) -- sponsor of fighters such as Jon Fitch, Cheick Kongo and Ben Askren -- elected to step out of the fight game.

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MEDIA STEW

As if you needed further evidence that Don Frye is the manliest man alive...

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Leave it to Pat Barry to reveal some disturbing industry secrets.

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Item No. 1 on today's fight docket: England's most casual four-second knockout. (Fight starts at 2:35.)

Props to Harry Williams for the find.

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Item No. 2 on today's fight docket: Brutal top game all the way from Kazakhstan. (Fight starts at 0:25.)

(HT: Reddit)

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Tonight's episode of The Ultimate Fighter 17: The second set of quarterfinal match-ups take place, as Team Jones' Josh Samman battles Team Sonnen's Jimmy Quinlan, plus wildcard winner Bubba McDaniel tests his mettle against this season's prohibitive favorite, Uriah Hall.

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I'm not even a Dragon Ball Z fan and this Mark Hunt highlight was still ridiculously cool.

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FUEL 9 DRAMA

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BUNCH OF JOKESTERS IN HERE

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NO BUENO

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CAUGHT IN THE ACT

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A TRAGIC DAY

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YEP, I HATE APRIL FOOLS

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Monday, April 1, 2013):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day is an unfortunately timed column from MikeWellman88: Breaking Down Gustafsson vs Mousasi

These two currently sport the two best records aside from the champion Jon Jones at 205 pounds, and they each are hoping a win over the other will elevate them to top contender status. Gustafsson is four inches taller than Mousasi, but only has a half-inch reach advantage over him, so that won't be a factor. These guys both finish over half of their fights by KO/TKO, with Mousasi having a slightly higher striking accuracy rate throughout his career, at 51% vs Gustafssons 36%. Gustafsson absorbs more strikes per minute, with a FightMetric average of 2.29 shots eaten per minute compared to Mousasi's 1.07. That's a bit of difference, unlike their strikes landed per minute average, which shows Gustafsson achieving 3.98 strikes every 60 seconds, and Mousasi landing an average of 3.66.

This means Gustafsson is less accurate, but lands more. The stats on the feet are close, but tilt slightly in Gegard Mousasi's favor, especially considering he defends against 70% of strikes thrown his way, whereas Gustafsson defends against 50%. When we look at the grappling, Gustafsson goes for slightly more takedowns, with 2.56 per fight vs Mousasi's 1.95. Mousasi lands 65% of his takedowns vs Gustafsson's 50%, but 'Mauler' defends against 84% of takedowns shot on him vs Mousasi's 51%. On paper these two tend to mute each other. They both fight orthodox, and are only a year apart in age. Mousasi blocks shots at a higher clip, and is slightly more accurate.

Gustaffson utilizes his rangey kicks, but might be hesitant against a dangerous ground fighter like Mousasi, who has finished fights from virtually every position on the ground, and may be on the lookout to catch one of those kicks and get it to the canvas. On the other side of that coin, Gustafsson defends takedowns better than Mousasi, and is lighter on his feet, so he may not be gunshy with his legs.

Mousasi's job in this one is going to be to close the distance and outwork Gustaffson from up close. He's got to avoid the right hand of Gustaffson, which seems to come from all angles, and close off Gustaffson's paths to circle out and find his range. I'd say his best bet is get it to the ground, where Alex was dominated by Phil Davis. That's going to be tough, because Gustafsson has improved tremendously since that fight, and has only diversified his striking, and showed some good submission defense against Shogun in his last fight.

Gegard Mousasi is a durable veteran with the tools to reach the top of the 205-pound heap in a few fights at most, but I just don't see him being able to impose his will on Gustafsson. Look for Gustafsson to keep Mousasi at bay and get back up if it goes to the ground. I see him winning this one by decision, but that's only because I can't envision Mousasi getting floored or tapped out.
This is a huge, huge, huge light heavyweight fight, with two of the most dangerous and dynamic fighters in all of mixed martial arts, and either would be an intriguing match for the winner of Jones/Sonnen.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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