Gegard Mousasi made the most of his title shot, and made no mistake in the main event of Bellator 200 in London on Friday.
With the originally scheduled headliner of Mirko Cro-Cop vs. Roy Nelson tragically yanked off the Bellator 200 card due to a Cro-Cop injury, Bellator did the best thing possible: promoted the middleweight title fight between Rafael Carvalho and Gegard Mousasi to the main event. That set the stage for Mousasi, long a fan favorite and fearless combatant in organizations like Strikeforce, Pride, and the UFC, to earn another moment of glory, and another world title.
That was if, mind you, and only if he could get past one of Bellator’s most storied homegrown champions. Rafael Carvalho had not lost since his professional debut, and he was looking to keep that streak going at Bellator 200 in London on Friday.
Once action was underway, the champion stayed on the outside, and the pair looked to find range with kicks. Mousasi went upstairs with a kick, while Carvalho attacked the legs. Just a minute in, however, Mousasi shot for and landed the takedown. The champion worked his way up immediately, but on him like a blanket, Gegard Mousasi took him right back down. Carvalho tried to defend with a kimura, but to no avail. The challenger kept at it, hands clasped around Carvalho’s waist. Mousasi was able to drag his opponent back to the ground, get on top, and land a brief bit of ground and pound. He then quickly moved to full mount.
The transition had Rafael Carvalho in dire straits. Mousasi began anew with the ground and pound, with Carvalho trapped against the fence. The champion turned and gave up his back (perhaps less gave it up than Gegard Mousasi maneuvered him there), and the ground strikes kept on coming. Unable to defend, only covering up, the ref gave him a good look, then finally waved it off!
Gegard Mousasi had captured the Bellator middleweight championship, shattered the 15 fight win streak of Carvalho, and did so barely breaking a sweat. As for what comes next, Mousasi called out welterweight champ Rory MacDonald following the fight.
In the end, it was a satisfying conclusion to a monumental night for Bellator MMA.
Gegard Mousasi def. Rafael Carvalho by TKO, Round 1, 3:35 – to win the Bellator middleweight championship