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Rafael Lovato Jr Outgrapples Gegard Mousasi To Win Bellator 185lb Gold

Rafael Lovato Jr managed to upset the odds in the big way as he put a grappling clinic on the Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi in London.

Lovato Jr has been a relevant name within the world of combat sports for quite some time now on the back of his glittering run on the grappling circuit but now, ten fights into his MMA career, he can finally hoist a world-title in his new sport over his shoulder.

Facing the 50+ fight veteran Gegard Mousasi for the Bellator middleweight title, Lovato in many ways left us surprised from the get-go when he was able to dictate the flow of the matchup for the opening pair of rounds.

His BJJ skills were simply on another level to the champ’s and for every cunning reversal attempted, Rafael had more than one tool in his arsenal there to keep the fight where he wanted it.

Lovato really did appear to be on his way to a dominant performance or even a finish but all of a sudden in the third-round, Mousasi’s somewhat lackadaisical attitude gave way to some real purpose and at the end of the third and all the way through the fourth, he was able to put some serious pressure and damage on his opponent.

In the end, it came down to the fifth round, with ‘Big’ John McCarthy in the commentary booth correctly calling it as 2-2 going into the final five.

And when push came to shove with just one round on the clock, Lovato Jr. was the guy who stepped up to the plate – taking Mousasi down early in the round and controlling the action until the fight was over.

In the end, the judges scored it 47-47 and 48-47 x2 in favour of the veteran grappler – a fitting birthday present for the start of his 35th year.

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

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Author: Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at [email protected]