With Bellator 282 arriving next month, middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi will be entering his third fight in just ten months — a breakneck pace for any champion in a major organization.
Of course, Mousasi (49-7-2) has been clearing out the 185 pound division for a while now, and at 36 is firmly entrenched in his second reign as champ in the weight class. TKOs of John Salter and Austin Vanderford represent his most recent wins, improving his current streak to four. Next up comes Johnny Eblen, another undefeated wrestler from American Top Team — just like Vanderford was.
“Last two opponents, similar style wrestlers. Take you down, hold you, ground n’ pound,” Mousasi acknowledged during Tuesday’s Bellator 282 virtual press conference, speaking to Cageside Press and other media outlets. “Basically I’ve been training for a guy like him for a year almost now. So nothing new.”
That sort of “nothing new” situation seems to resonate with fans, not to mention the media, who appear to be more interested in Mousasi fighting Yoel Romero. The Cuban recently picked up his first win in Bellator, defeating ranked light heavyweight Alex Polizzi earlier this month. He’ll return to 205 pounds against Melvin Manhoef for his next fight, but has indicated that he wants to move back down to middleweight after that — for a shot at Mousasi, and gold.
It’s a fight Mousasi likes at 185 pounds. “Definitely. I haven’t looked past this fight, [but] there’s Corey Anderson, and our Russian friend, I don’t know the name, and Yoel Romero in there,” Mouasi said of the match-up, noting the possibility of facing the winner between Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson, who still have to close out the light heavyweight grand prix. “As a middleweight, I would like that [Romero fight]. But let’s see how this fight goes first.”
Eblen might have something to say about those plans. The ATT fighter still believes Mousasi is at the top of his game, though he isn’t reading too much into the quick win over Vanderford.
“Of course, he’s one of the best in the world. I didn’t take too much from his last fight with Austin, but I took a good amount from the previous fight with Salter. But I’ve been studying a lot of his past fights, not just his last two.”
“The Human Cheat Code” believes that Mousasi does have some holes in his game that can be exploited. “Oh for sure. There’s a lot of things that he does in every fight. I’m looking to capitalize, and I’m going in with a game plan.”
Watch the full Bellator 282 virtual press conference below. The event takes place Friday, June 24, 2022 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.