At Bellator 250 on Thursday Gegard Mousasi won the vacant Bellator middleweight title after a unanimous decision victory over Bellator’s welterweight kingpin Douglas Lima. By winning Mousasi reclaimed the 185 lb belt he lost to Rafael Lovato Jr. last year. Lovato Jr. vacated the title after he was forced into retirement with a medical condition.
In his post-fight press conference Mousasi sang Lima’s praises, calling him a top three opponent out of the 11 former and present world champions Mousasi has beaten over his career.
Mousasi said he “underestimated” Lima at first, but after five tough rounds he seems to have gained a new found respect for Bellator’s 170 lb champ.
“He’s in his prime,” said Mousasi. “He’s difficult to put away. I’d rather have the finish. But after first round, I knew this guy was going to stay for five.
“Once I was seeing I was getting the upper hand in the round and I was not taking a lot of damage, I was scoring my points, so I cruised to the victory. You can always do better. I’m not very happy with the performance. But it’s a win. I won all rounds against a prime welterweight champion.”
After talking up Lima Mousasi echoed what he said before the fight about who he thinks is up next. In response to the gathered media Mousasi repeated that John Salter is who he expects his first title defense to come against.
“Yeah, he’s the next guy. Definitely looking forward to that fight.”
One media member in attendance couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask Mousasi whether he thought he could beat undefeated UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, who recently defended his title for the first time versus Paulo Costa.
Mousasi seemed less than enthused about the question and offered a laconic response.
“Listen, everything can happen, but it’s not on my radar because he’s in UFC, I’m with Bellator so... it’s not going to happen anytime soon,” said Mousasi with a very noticeable shrug in between.
The win over Lima took Mousasi’s record to 47-7-2 and gave him a mark of 5-1 in Bellator, an organization he joined in 2017 off the back of a five-fight winning streak in the UFC.
For Lima, that was his first loss since being defeated by Rory MacDonald in 2018 (a loss he avenged last year). Lima has been with Bellator since 2011 and has a 14-4 record in the promotion (32-8 overall).