The Bellator middleweight title is on the line as Gegard Mousasi makes the second defense of his crown against the streaking contender Rafael Lovato Jr.
Bellator London is the event and in all honesty, those attending have been gifted with a very impressive lineup of fights from top-to-bottom, a lineup that with culminate with a stellar middleweight title clash between the highly impressive champion Gegard Mousasi and the decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter Rafael Lovato Jr.
Mousasi made short work of the welterweight champ Rory MacDonald in his last outing, beating his fellow former UFC star by way of second-round TKO – a fight that truly cemented his status as one of the best, if not the best, fighters on the Bellator roster.
Lovato Jr. will carry a clean unbeaten 9-0 record with him to the cage on Saturday night, a record that has seen him string together an impressive run of victories on his way to a shot at this world title.
The question here, though, is whether or not a matchup with Mousasi is too much too soon for the relatively green MMA fighter.
At 35, he is no spring chicken by any means after a long and successful run on the grappling circuit but his nine-fight career pales in comparison to Gegard’s 53 fights and against all odds, we’re only really seeing a prime Mousasi now.
So how does this one play out?
Well, I think that Mousasi is just far too good everywhere to be troubled by his opponent.
Lovato Jr. is an incredibly talented fight, make no mistake, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was able to latch on to something in a crazy scramble. That being said, Gegard’s fundamentals are so watertight at this point that I honestly can’t see anything other than a crazy scramble getting Lovato the win.
Mousasi’s overall MMA skillset has been honed through years of fighting methodically and only now, over fifty fights in, are we truly seeing this guy blossom.
As much as I’d like to see Gegard tussle with the dynamic grappling toolset possessed by his opponent, I don’t believe that it will even come into play before the champ can close this one out entirely.
Prediction: Gegard Mousasi by second-round TKO
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena