UFC on Fuel 9 Poster - UPDATELight heavyweight Ilir Latifi always thought he’d end up fighting under the UFC banner. He just didn’t realize his debut would come with less than a week to prepare, let alone feature an adversary like Gegard Mousasi or involve the pressure of a main event in his native Sweden. However, opportunity knocked when training partner Alexander Gustafsson went down with a cut and the 29-year old stepped up despite the less-than ideal circumstances.

While Latifi wasn’t able to overcome Mousasi’s superior stand-up, eating a number of stiff jabs throughout their three-round tilt, his heart and willingness to step up on short notice were enough to keep him employed for at least one more match-up.

UFC President Dana White confirmed Latifi’s services would be retained regardless of the loss while speaking with media at the UFC on Fuel 9 post-fight press conference.

Latifi’s loss dropped his record to 7-3 but also snapped a three-fight winning streak. Five of his triumphs have involved some form of finish.