Whenever a UFC fighter enters free-agency and considers jumping ship for Bellator, there must be some internal math that includes in the equation how the competition is easier in Bellator.
If so, that math is pretty damn wrong.
In the main event of Bellator 185 last night, UFC vet Gegard Mousasi stepped into the Bellator cage for the first time confident that his resume would be enough to see him defeat former Bellator champ Alexander Shlemenko. And that confidence was likely gone once the Russian made his right eye swell completely shut with a punch. At that point, Mousasi was just fighting to stay alive.
For all of Rounds 1 and 2, Mousasi eschewed his usually top-notch striking game for grappling – he had to, because with one functional eye, he couldn’t see Shlemenko’s strikes coming and he couldn’t gauge distance. And he was successful in getting his foe down and putting him chokes that Shlemenko had to work to escape from. But the threat of a doctor stoppage loomed constantly, and no matter what the former Strikeforce champ did, Shlemenko wriggled free.
The final round saw Shlemenko even dominate position in the grappling department, and bang Mousasi up with ground and pound at every opening.
When time ran out, it was up to the judges to decide who deserved the win, and brother, this was a close one.
Results: Gegard Mousasi def. Alexander Shlemenko via Unanimous Decision