Bellator 264: Mousasi vs. Salter Preview

Gegard Mousasi will defend his middleweight crown when he steps in to take on John Salter in the Bellator 264 main event on Friday August 13 at Mohegan Sun Arena. A welterweight contest between Andrey Koreshkov and Sabah Homasi is set to be the co-main event.

Gegard Mousasi will make the walk to the cage for the fifty-eight time this Friday and the Dutchman has pretty much seen it all in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Back in 2017 after beating Chris Weidman, Mousasi was on a 5-fight win-streak inside the UFC and on the cusp of a title shot. “The Dream Catcher” chose to go a different direction and jumped ship to the Bellator ranks. A win on his Bellator debut against Alexander Shlemenko saw him awarded a middleweight title shot.

Mousasi was crowned the middleweight champion at Bellator 200 after stopping Rafael Carvalho in the very first round. An impressive win over Rory MacDonald followed, then came a bump in the road when the Dutch veteran was defeated by Rafael Lovato Jr. A defeat of Lyoto Machida got Mousasi back on track, Lovato Jr. vacated his title for health reasons which opened the door for a battle with Douglas Lima, who was the 170-pound champion at the time. The super fight between the two cause a lot of buzz in the MMA community but unfortunately the fight did not live up to expectations. Mousasi became two-time middleweight champion after disposing of Lima in what was a comfortable decision victory, that win set the champ up to defend his title against this weekend against John Salter.

Salter made his Bellator debut in 2015 and immediately started making waves in the 185-pound division. The North Carolina native picked up five win, all finishes, in his first five scraps under the Bellator banner. A familiar name ended that run when Salter was defeat in his sixth fight against BJJ standout Rafael Lovato Jr. It was back to the drawing board for Salter and wins over Chidi Njokuani, Costello van Steenis and Andrew Kapel have propelled him right back into the title mix.

This is by far the biggest fight of John Salters career. He faces a very well rounded veteran in Mousasi and will need to have the fight of his life to become the new middleweight king. Salter is a guy who always moves forward at a fast pace and always looks to finish. I feel that he will need to approach this fight with more caution but not give the champion too much respect. You can’t allow a fighter with the calibre of Mousasi to get ahead in fights. We’ve seen the champion in trouble in the past and he does not like playing catch-up.

At 36-years old, I feel Mousasi is still the better fighter coming into this main event in every aspect of the game. If he was to lose I think it would be down to him having an off night rather than being outclassed by Salter. If Salter can start fast and put some doubt into the mind of his Dutch rivil early on, we will see a great a great fight unfold. I feel this fight will be fought at the champions pace and I feel we are in for a 5-round technical battle in the main event. Does Mousasi still have the fire in his belly to compete at the highest level? I’m really excited to fight out.

Sabah Homasi was on the receiving end of a fantastic come from behind victory when he challenged Paul Daley in his last trip to the cage in April of this year. “The Sleek Shiek” looks to turn his fortunes around when he steps in to take on Andrey Koreshkov in the co-main event. Russian standout Korshkov returns to Bellator after taking one fight and winning by armbar at AMC Fight Nights. He was defeated by Lorenz Larkin in his last outing under the Bellator banner.

Two top bantamweights will lock horns when Raufeon Stots and Magomed Magomedov go to battle on the main card section. Stots only defeat came in 2017 when he was defeated by Merab Dvalishvili. Eight wins in a row after that defeat see’s him matched with Magomedov, the Russian is undefeated in his last five. a win for either fighter would move them ever closer to a shot at newly crowned champion Sergio Pettis. Two heavyweight’s will put their undefeated records on the line when 3-0 Davion Franklin goes up against Everett Cummings who is undefeated in 15 fights. A little bit of an experience gaps between these guys, it will be interesting to see how this fight unfolds. Kicking off the action on the main card is a middleweight bout between Ty Gwerder and Khadzhimurat Bestaev. American born, Gwerder stands at 1-2 in Bellator and lost a decision to Dalton Rosta in his last outing. Bestaev, who is also from America, lost to Phil Hawes on DWCS in his last fight, he will make his Bellator debut.

On the undercard, which will be live and free on YouTube, Pam Sorenson makes the walk to take on Brazilian rival Roberta Paim Samad in the featured headliner. That bout will be contested in the women’s featherweight division. In the lightweight division Justin Montalvo and Kendly St. Louis are set to lock horns. Two catchweight scraps are also set to happen on the prelims section as Sebastian Ruiz and Jeffrey Glossner will go to battle at 142 pounds. At 195-pounds, Orlando Mendoza and Jon McNeil will both make their professional debuts.

Main Card (Showtime/YouTube, 4:55PM, ET)

Middleweight Title: Gegard Mousasi (c) vs. John Salter
Welterweight: Andrey Koreshkov vs. Sabah Homasi
Bantamweight: Raufeon Stots vs. Magomed Magomedov
Heavyweight: Davion Franklin vs. Everett Cummings
Middleweight: Ty Gwerder vs. Khadzhimurat Bestaev

Preliminary Card (Youtube/Pluto TV, 3:25PM ,ET)

Women’s Featherweight: Pam Sorenson vs. Roberta Paim Samad
Lightweight: Justin Montalvo vs. Kendly St. Louis
Catchweight: (142 lb) Sebastian Ruiz vs. Jeffrey Glossner
Catchweight: (195 lb) Orlando Mendoza vs. Jon McNeil

Ian O'Neill is the host of the SevereMMA UFC Preview show and one of the co-hosts of The Auld Triangle - Irish MMA podcast. You can find more of Ian's work on the SevereMMA Patreon where he co-hosts The Chasing Pack and The Contender. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma

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