Bellator MMA is back with perhaps their best card ever on paper with tomorrow night’s (Sat., September 29, 2018) Bellator 206 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
The main card will stream live on new Bellator partner DAZN. The card’s headlining bout features a highly anticipated middleweight super fight between 185-pound titleholder Gegard Mousasi and welterweight champion Rory MacDonald. In the co-main event, former PRIDE rivals Rampage Jackson and Wanderlei Silva will meet for the fourth time.
The Bellator World Welterweight Grand Prix will also kick off on the main card. Former champions Douglas Lima and Andrey Koreshkov will square off in the inaugural bout of the buzzworthy tournament. Ascending star Aaron Pico also has next fight on the main card, facing Leandro Higo on his continued rise.
All of that adds up to an incredibly packed Bellator 206 main card. We broke down the important aspects of each major bout. Check out our Bellator 206 preview, predictions, and analysis here.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald
Hyperbole aside, this is probably the biggest fight Bellator could put on right now due to the track record of both fighters.
Mousasi has won seven straight bouts since his fluky TKO loss to Uriah Hall in September 2015. He’s finished five of those opponents by knockout and may be at his peak as a result. Mousasi did have some trouble in his Bellator debut against Alexander Shlemenko. However, he most recently destroyed former champion Rafael Carvalho in one round at May’s Bellator 200.
Likewise, MacDonald has been on a tear since coming to Bellator, albeit a smaller one. He’s won both of his fights against Paul Daley and Lima, winning the belt from the latter at Bellator 192 this January.
Both of these fighters bring a wealth of relevant in-cage knowledge, a wholly well-rounded skillset, and the experience to back it up. Therefore, this is truly as elite a fight Bellator could make. Mousasi and MacDonald are somewhat similar in style. They both employ crisp, accurate, and measured striking on the feet, choosing to pick their spots with peerless efficiency. They also share a laserlike jab as one of their most effective weapons. Mousasi has shown much more knockout power on the feet, however, and does hold a size edge here.
While neither is known as a world-class wrestler, each man can take nearly any opponent down and defend opposing takedowns sufficiently. If and when the bout hits the ground, both fighters can absolutely come out on top with an extensive list of submissions. Mousasi is a black belt in judo and MacDonald is the same rank in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
All of that boils down to an incredibly close fight on paper. When that happens, the size advantage may play the biggest deciding factor. As you can see from the photo above, Mousasi is the bigger fighter. It’ll be close, but I think he outlasts MacDonald by decision in a back-and-forth battle.
Prediction: Gegard Mousasi def. Rory MacDonald via unanimous decision