Gegard Mousasi scored a close decision win over Alexander Shlemenko in his Bellator debut, but not many people think he deserved the victory.
And Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho is one of those critics.
“In my opinion, Mousasi lost,” Carvalho told MMA Fighting. “He won the first round, okay, but got beat up in the second and third rounds.”
Mousasi’s right eye was busted early in the fight, but he managed to continue on despite a broken orbital and win the fight 29-28 on every scorecard.
“I think he realized the Russian is not an easy opponent,” Carvalho said. “Shlemenko is well-rounded, experienced, a tough fighter, so that eye injury was a big issue for him. I think they (the judges) favored Mousasi because he’s one of the biggest signings in Bellator recent history. The result was unfair.”
Bellator president Scott Coker told Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of The MMA Hour that it’s still yet to be decided if the former Strikeforce champion will fight the winner of Carvalho vs. Alessio Sakara for the belt next, since first he must go under the knife to fix his broken orbital.
But Carvalho doesn’t think Mousasi should get a title shot anyway.
“I think he should do another fight first,” Carvalho said. “But I believe this is not the company’s plans. I think they will give him a title shot right away, but I believe he should fight one more time.”
Booked to defend his 185-pound title against Sakara in the main event of Bellator 189 in Italy on Dec. 9, Carvalho is even more confident after watching Mousasi’s controversial Bellator debut.
“In a possible fight against Mousasi, I see myself as the champion,” Carvalho said. “I respect his history, he’s an experienced fighter, but if he fights the way he fought I have everything to win and remain champion. I can’t consider only one fight, of course, every fight is different, but he has everything to lose if he fights me like that.”