In this exclusive SBN MMA Feature, Bloody Elbow Interviewer, Shakiel ‘Shak’ Mahjouri speaks to ranked professional MMA fighters like Jimmie Rivera and Ricardo Lamas, who give their take on Bellator 223, aka: Bellator London’s main event title fight between Gegard Mousasi and Rafael Lovato Jr., , happening at the SSE Arena in London, England on Saturday, June 22nd at 9PM ET....
- 0:19 - Jimmie Rivera
- 0:27 - Josh Emmett
- 0:45 - Max Griffin
- 1:03 - Eryk Anders
- 1:15 - Curtis Millender
- 1:38 - Cody Stamann
- 1:46 - Damir Hadzovic
- 1:57 - Boston Salmon
- 2:05 - Ricardo Lamas
Who do you think will win?
This poll is closed
Rafael Lovato, Jr.
Defending his Middleweight World Title we have the Dutch MMA veteran, Gegard Mousasi, who signed with Bellator in July, 2017 after leaving the UFC. The Netherlands former kickboxer is also the former DREAM Light Heavyweight &, Middleweight Champion, former Cage Warriors World Middleweight Champ and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion, making him a five-time World Champion. Gegard is fighting out of Jurojin MMA in Leiden, Netherlands, and enters this main event title battle with a storied 45-6-2 record, (those wins include 26 by TKO/KO, 12 Subs, and 7 Decisions) on an eight-fight winning streak. His last victory was a win via Ground & Pound at 3:23 in round two against Rory MacDonald at Bellator 206. Other wins include the likes of Rafael Carvalho, Alex Shlemenko, Chris Weidman, Uriah Hall, Vitor Belfort, Thiago Santos & Thales Leites.
The 33-year-old Mousasi, who is ranked the #9 Current Best MMA Middleweight Fighter by Tapology.com, has fought in K-1 Dynamite Kickboxing, PRIDE FC, DREAM, the ADCC Championships, M-1 Global, Affliction, Strikeforce and the UFC. According to Wiki, in addition to his achievements with the above promotions, he also trained for the Olympics in 2012, but those hopes were dashed due to an injury and the signing of a new Strikeforce contract. “The Dreamcatcher” prefers to not have a nickname, since “with (his) style you can’t really put a name on it”.
Meanwhile, contender Rafael Lovato, Jr., comes into this war with a significantly shorter 9-0-0 undefeated professional record, (2 TKO/KO, 6 Subs, and 1 Decision) fighting out of his own Lovato’s School of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Oklahoma, having won his last bout against John Salter via Rear Naked Choke at 4:27 in round three at Bellator 205 last September, 2018. Prior to that, his other eight straight wins include, Gerald Harris, Chris Honeycutt, Mike Rhodes, Charles Hackmann, Cortez Coleman, Marcelo Nunes, Kevin Holland & Canaan Grigsby.
Despite having yet to experience a loss, the 35-year-old Lovato is currently listed via Tapology.com as the #24 Current Best MMA Middleweight Fighter. The American BJJ competitor and instructor was the second American (B.J. Penn being the first) to win the World Jiu-Jistu Championship as a black belt. Lovato made his debut for Bellator MMA in March, 2017 and won the fight via TKO just 13 seconds into the first round. This Title fight with Mousasi had to be re-booked due to a back injury to Lovato last year, he has had plenty of time to heal and should be totally prepared to snag the belt.
Not to be forgotten, also of note on the card will be England’s Paul Daley and Ireland’s James Gallagher, taking on Erick Silva and Jermiah Labiano, respectively.
Here’s a look at the fight card as it stands today out of Wembly, via Tapology.com:
BELLATOR LONDON - DAZN | Saturday 06.22.2019 at 9:00 PM ET
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rafael Lovato Jr.
Paul Daley vs. Erick Silva
James Gallagher vs. Jeremiah Labiano
Mike Shipman vs. Costello van Steenis
Melvin Manhoef vs. Kent Kauppinen
Fabian Edwards vs. Jonathan Bosuku
PRELIMS - DAZN | 6:30PM ET
Chris Bungard vs. Charlie Leary
Nathan Greyson vs. Frans Mlambo
Kate Jackson vs. Lena Ovchynnikova
Nathan Rose vs. Luke Ord
Walter Gahadza vs. Oliver Enkamp
Justin Burlinson vs. Wendle Lewis
Denise Kielholtz vs. Bryony Tyrell
Alfie Davis vs. Jorge Kanella
Charlie Ward vs. Justin Moore
Aaron Chalmers vs. Fred Freeman
Terry Brazier vs. Alessandro Botti
Kevin Fryer vs. John Redmond
Galore Bofando vs. Keith McCabe
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SBN MMA YouTube is a joint effort between BloodyElbow.com and MMAMania.com via SB Nation. You can follow MMA Mania on Instagram: https://instagram.com/mmamaniadotcom, visit BloodyElbow.com and MMAmania.com for more content; and also be sure to follow Shak on Twitter,: @ThisIsShak or his Pull No Punches Podcast on fb: https://www.facebook.com/PNPShow/?ref=br_rs