It didn’t take long for Gegard Mousasi to get his first Bellator MMA bout announced.
The promotion just announced on Twitter tonight (Fri., July 14, 2017) that ‘The Dreamcatcher’ will meet former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko in the main event of October 20’s Bellator 185 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Light heavyweights Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and former champ Liam McGeary will face off in the co-headliner:
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) July 15, 2017
A former Strikeforce and DREAM champion himself, Mousasi won five straight fights in the UFC before he elected to sign with Bellator President Scott Coker‘s new home after working with the longtime promoter at the San Jose-based Strikeforce.
“””The Dreamcatcher” boasted a 9-3 record in the octagon since he first debuted in 2013, last losing to a highlight reel spin kick from Uriah Hall in 2015, with his other losses coming to legendary former champs Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo Souza. Mousasi most recently beat former middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 210 when a series of knees in the second round caused a stoppage in the action to give Weidman time due to illegal strikes.
When replay was used, it showed the knees were indeed legal, and Mousasi was awarded a TKO win when cageside doctors said Weidman was no longer able to continue. That big win put him on the cusp of a UFC title shot, one that he ultimately did not get when Yoel Romero met Robert Whittaker for the interim belt in the co-main of last week’s UFC 213.
The initially calm fighter, who has shifted his style to that of an outspoken contender these days, recently said if he was offered the interim UFC title bout, then he might have been more persuaded to accept the UFC offer as it grew closer in sheer dollar amount.
He’ll meet the former Bellator champion ‘Storm,’ who has endured through a strange career path over the past couple years after he had his early 2015 knockout of Melvin Manhoef taken away because of supposed elevated testosterone levels as high as 50-to-1. He was dealt a jaw-dropping three-year suspension by the State of California, but the Russian knockout artist appealed that outcome in September 2015 and had it overturned in July 2016.
He then knocked out Kendall Grove in the second round at Bellator 162 in his return. But Shlemenko has mainly been fighting in his native Russia since his mess with the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), winning four straight bouts under the M-1 banner. ‘Storm’ has won his last five bouts in a row and is 6-0(1) in his last seven. The unique striking skills of Shlemenko will provide a tough puzzle to solve in his first Bellator match, but it seemed like there may have been some bigger matches for Mousasi in his promotional debut.
What do you think about the booking?