Gegard Mousasi issues statement on Alexander Gustafsson injury, UFC on FUEL 9 opponent change

Dan Herbertson, MMA Fighting

It took the better part of three days, but Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2) finally knows the name of his opponent at UFC on FUEL 9.

Initially slated to fight UFC light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson (15-1), Mousasi will now face unheralded Albanian wrestler Ilir Latifi (7-2, 1 NC), a training partner of Gustafsson. UFC officials confirmed the news Tuesday night.

Gustafsson was forced out of the event after suffering a facial laceration under his eye over Easter weekend. The cut required three stitches, MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani reported on UFC Tonight, and ultimately led the Swedish MMA Federation to rule Gustafsson medically unfit to compete at UFC on FUEL 9.

Late Tuesday night, Mousasi issued a statement about the last-second switch of opponents via his manager and Swedish outlet MMA Nytt.

"Gegard and our team are disappointed to not be able to compete against Alexander Gustafsson," the statement read. "However, we understand the fight business and wish Alex a speedy recovery. We want to thank Ilir for stepping up last minute to take this fight. Gegard intends to make a great show with a strong performance for all the fans. Thank you to Dana White, Joe Silva and the rest of the Zuffa team for working so diligently on this matter. Now it is time to fight and make a great show for the fans!"

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