Mousasi retains Bellator title after TKO of Salter


Gegard Mousasi‘s near-perfect run as a Bellator MMA middleweight continued on Friday, as he defended his 185-pound championship in opposition to John Salter in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Mousasi (48-7-2) earned a TKO end at 2:07 of the third spherical, by way of unanswered strikes on the bottom. The 36-year-old veteran weathered an early, grappling-heavy method from Salter (18-5) earlier than dominating him from prime place within the second and third rounds.

The middleweight struggle headlined Bellator 264 inside Mohegan Solar Area.

A former NAIA nationwide wrestling champion, Salter went for broke within the opening spherical with takedown makes an attempt. He did handle to get Mousasi down, however appeared to put on himself out within the course of. Mousasi was clearly the more energizing of the 2 after the opening 5 minutes, and simply imposed his will the remainder of the way in which.

“I did not need to put myself in danger [in the first round],” Mousasi mentioned. “We had been nonetheless recent, not slippery, not sweaty. I did not need to give him my again. I felt I used to be pushing his head down and I knew that conditioning was on my facet. I am stronger than individuals assume. Perhaps I look skinny, however I am rather a lot stronger bodily. I simply put my strain on him and damage him with punches.”

A former champion in a number of organizations, together with Strikeforce, Mousasi has compiled a report of 6-1 since he signed with Bellator in 2017. Previous to his arrival within the Bellator cage, Mousasi was one of many prime middleweights within the UFC, and was nicely on his solution to incomes a title shot in that promotion earlier than accepting a suggestion with Bellator.

He’s a two-time middleweight champion for Bellator. He gained his first belt in 2018 and defended it as soon as, earlier than dropping a grappling-heavy matchup to Rafael Lovato Jr. The Dutch champion reclaimed his title by defeating former welterweight champ Douglas Lima final October.

Apart from surrendering a takedown within the opening spherical, Mousasi was clearly ready for Salter in each space. He confirmed little respect for Salter’s hanging, as he mainly walked him down your entire struggle, touchdown jabs and proper fingers. As soon as he gained prime place within the second and third rounds, Salter’s solely recourse was to cowl up defensively.

Mousasi snaps Salter’s three-fight win streak with the victory. He is anticipated to face undefeated No. 1 contender Austin Vanderford (11-0), who was in attendance, in his subsequent protection.

“He is a legend within the sport,” Vanderford mentioned. “I believed he went in there and took care of enterprise. I am excited to get on the market and check myself.”

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