Bellator 296: Fabian Edwards Out-Strikes Gegard Mousasi, Title Fight Looms

Fabian Edwards and Gegard Mousasi, Bellator 296
Fabian Edwards and Gegard Mousasi, Bellator 296 Credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA

With a potential title shot against Johhny Eblen on the line — the champ was on hand in Paris — Gegard Mousasi and Fabian Edwards faced off in the main event of Bellator 296 on Friday.

The middleweight match-up had a lot riding on it, with Mousasi suggesting it might just be his second-to-last fight after a storied career that had started two decades previously.

The fight started with Mousasi holding center, Edwards on the outside. Unfortunately, the first significant strike was a kick that landed right on the cup of Fabian Edwards, resulting in a halt to the action barely a minute in.

With the action back underway, Mousasi didn’t shy away from utilizing his kicks, flashing several front kicks to keep Edwards from closing the distance. Edwards did finally close the distance to do some clinch work, but Mousasi quickly broke and landed a low kick, answered by Edwards.

The first finished out on the feet; the second round found Mousasi and Edwards trading kicks again. Early in the second frame, however, Edwards shot a takedown off a Mousasi kick and landed it. Edwards just sat on top while Mousasi punched from the bottom; finally the Brit tried to pass, to no avail. Mousasi then switched to a butterfly guard, continuing to throw open-handed strikes from bottom. He shrimped back to the fence, posted up, dumped Fabian Edwards over the top, and moved to half guard! The ref however stopped the action, ruling a knee had landed illegally.

Replay of the foul showed Mousasi’s knee glancing off Edwards’ leg while it was in transit, making incidental contact with the British middleweight’s jaw as a result. No point deduction, in other words.

On the restart, Edwards began opening up, landing kicks and his right hand, hitting the mark with both several times. A strong finish to the second frame for Fabian.

Round three opened with renewed confidence from Fabian Edwards. While both men were landing leg kicks, Edwards had found his range with his hands. Unfortunately, an eye poke landed by Edwards halted the action.

When the resumed following the third foul of the fight, Edwards found considerable success with his length, landing his jab and combos. He also started adding up with inside leg kicks; Mousasi did have some success with teep kicks and single punches, but more often than not when closing the distance, Edwards was catching him.

The fourth round saw more solid stand-up work from Fabian Edwards. But at the midway mark, Mousasi changed things up, shooting and landing a takedown. Edwards quickly scrambled to his knees, but Mousasi controlled from the back, though he was ultimately unable to hold on to his opponent. Edwards reversed against the fence and broke, moving back to range, escaping harm for the time being. And in the dying seconds of the round, it was Edwards landing a throw takedown, though there was no time to do anything with it.

Come the fifth and final round, Gegard Mousasi was in need of a finish. Instead, he found himself with Fabian Edwards on his back. When Mousasi tried to scramble up, Edwards got hooks in. That eventually became a body triangle. Come the final minute, the outcome was a foregone conclusion. Mousasi was out of time, and Edwards had his biggest win yet. One that should lead to a title fight with Johnny Eblen — especially given they faced off in the cage in Paris.

Official Result: Fabian Edwards def. Gegard Mousasi by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)