Gegard Mousasi hoped to stay active in 2022 and the reigning Bellator middleweight champion just got his wish granted.
Mousasi will return to the Bellator cage in the summer to defend his championship against Johnny Eblen at Bellator 282, the upcoming event scheduled to take place on June 24 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Ariel Helwani was first to report the fight and it was later confirmed by the promotion.
Now on his second reign as champion, Mousasi has successfully defended his title twice. The ‘Dreamcatcher’ finished John Salter and Austin Vanderford by technical knockout at Bellator 264 and Bellator 275, respectively.
An undefeated prospect, Eblen earned his championship opportunity with a unanimous decision over the aforementioned Salter at Bellator 276 this past March. ‘The Human Cheat Code’ improved to 11-0 as a professional, with seven of those wins coming under the Bellator banner. Following his win over Salter, the American Top Team product said he was absolutely ready for Mousasi next.
“I’m a man who likes to work, so whatever gets me the next fight, I’m down to do it,” said Eblen during his post-fight press conference (video provided by MMA Junkie). “Obviously I would love to fight for the title. If that doesn’t happen, so be it. But I am the No. 1 contender now, and the guy hasn't fought me yet. So let’s do it maybe.”
Also featured at Bellator 282 is a pair of quarterfinal fights for the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix. Magomed Magomedov and Leandro Higo are still awaiting opponents, but they will soon be determined by the wild card fights set for Bellator 278 in April. The winner of Enrique Barzola vs. Josh Hill meets Magomedov and the winner of Jornel Lugo vs. Danny Sabatello faces Higo.
Additionally, Alejandra Lara takes on Ilara Joanne at flyweight.
The current lineup of Bellator 282 is as follows:
Gegard Mousasi vs. Johnny Eblen
Magomed Magomedov vs. Enrique Barzola/Josh Hill
Leandro Higo vs. Jornel Lugo/Danny Sabatello
Alejandra Lara vs. Ilara Joanne