Bellator 185’s main event was a fun yet controversial battle in which Gegard Mousasi came out on top.
Bellator MMA returned to action Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, with Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko. In the main event, top middleweight free agent signing Gegard Mousasi made his promotional debut against former champ Alexander Shlemenko. It was Bellator’s biggest coming out party since the debut of Rory MacDonald, with all eyes on Mousasi, who was expected to earn a title shot with a win.
Gegard Mousasi opened things up with a few leg kicks and back Alexander Shlemenko to the cage. Shlemenko pushed back and caused Mousasi to change direction with a few heavy hooks. Mousasi reacted with a takedown effort, that Shlemenko attempted to counter with a headlock.
Mousasi broke free of the grip, and stood up on Shlemenko’s back. Mousasi slammed his foe to the canvas and immediately began working for the choke. Shlemenko hand-fought for his life and eventually spun out of the hold. Mousasi followed him and scored another takedown, but Shlemenko bounced up quicker this time.
Shlemenko landed some shots and Mousasi was able to drag Shlemenko down against the cage and landed a few punches. Mousasi’s eye was nearly shut at the end of the round following a heavy left early in the fight.
Mousasi certainly was affected by the swollen eye but passed the exam of the ringside doctor. The former UFC standout was not nearly as effective on the feet, getting hit with a spinning backfist early. The second round did develop a pattern of Mousasi landing a takedown, Shlemenko standing up and landing hard punches, then Mousasi wrestling again. Gegard Mousasi was able to score a big takedown near the end of the round, going from half guard to the back of Shlemenko and nearly sinking in a choke before the round came to a close.
Shlemenko came out swinging in round three, landing a body shot then a spinning back kick. Shlemenko backed Mousasi to the cage and landed a huge body knee. A spinning backfist landed for the former Bellator champion and he appeared to seize the momentum of the bout.
Gegard Mousasi’s striking was failing to do real damage. Mousasi finally had enough and pushed Shlemenko against the cage. However, the Russian turned the tables and threw Mousasi to the canvas. Mousasi was able to get up quickly. A huge left hand landed for Shlemenko during a wild exchange that rocked the heavy favorite. Mousasi fell to his back to avoid the onslaught of Shlemenko and was able to keep the attacker off him momentarily.
Shlemenko got top position and landed a heavy knee to the body then began working on a front choke. Mousasi got back up and Shlemenko turned up the heat, landing heavy hooks on Gegard Mousasi until the final bell.
Surprisingly, Gegard Mousasi took home the unanimous 29-28 decision much to the dismay of some of the crowd.
Gegard Mousasi def. Alexander Shlemenko by Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)