Gegard Mousasi didn’t give Rory MacDonald much of a chance in their Bellator superfight.
Mousasi, the middleweight champion, met MacDonald, the welterweight champion, in the Bellator 206 main event Saturday night in a highly-anticipated clash. The event took place at SAP Center in San Jose.
Mousasi found his groove as soon as the five-round title fight started, landing jab after jab, plus a few leg kicks. MacDonald, visibly undersized, struggled to find his range — something rather uncommon for the Canadian. MacDonald scored a few shots in the first round, but few compared to his opponent.
In the second round, MacDonald attempted a takedown — specifically an Imanari roll — but ended up on his back with Mousasi on top of him. The 185-pound champ advanced position, eventually ending up in full mount. Mousasi began raining down ground-and-pound, and MacDonald tried his hardest to get up, but Mousasi’s control was too much. MacDonald, bloodied, was forced to cover up, and that was that.
What was the highlight of the fight?
Mousasi’s jab looked better than ever against in this fight — likely because he was the bigger man, somewhat of a rarity for him, but it was still impressive. Among all his other tools and techniques, his jab stood out to me. The crispness of it and the power behind it made it a lethal tool in his first title defense.
Where do these two go from here?
Mousasi said in his post-fight interview he thinks rising contender Rafael Lovato Jr., an ace on the ground, deserves the next title shot, and that’s hard to argue against. Lovato Jr. is coming off a submission win over John Salter earlier this month.
Mousasi also said he’d like to rematch Lyoto Machida, who beat Mousasi in the UFC in 2014, next year. Machida is scheduled to make his Bellator debut in December against Rafael Carvalho, so he would have to get past the former Bellator champion first.
To answer the question, the plans that Mousasi laid out make sense to me.
MacDonald’s path is fairly clear from here. He is in the Bellator welterweight grand prix tournament, which kicked off on Satuday with Douglas Lima vs. Andrey Koreshkov 3. MacDonald will face Jon Fitch in the opening round at a to-be-determined date. Despite the Mousasi loss, MacDonald is still the 170-pound champ and will defend his title throughout the tournament.
The only problem is that MacDonald took a lot of damage against Mousasi. It’s not clear how long “The Red King” will need to recover from Saturday’s superfight and whether or not the Fitch fight will have to be postponed — only time will tell.
Watch now, later, or never?
Despite the dominance from the reigning middleweight champ, Mousasi vs. MacDonald was ultimately two high-level mixed martial artists going toe to toe, so watch right away.