Gegard Mousasi reclaimed the Bellator Middleweight Championship last year with a win against Douglas Lima. Now on his second stint with the belt, Mousasi will look to defend it for the first time when fighting John Salter in the main event of Friday’s Bellator show. The fight headlines an eight-bout card from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
Here’s a preview of the show.
Preliminary Card (7:25PM EDT) (Youtube)
Bout 1: Orlando Mendoza (0-0) vs. Jon McNeil (0-0) (Catchweight 195 lbs)
Bellator’s prelims are quite short this weekend after the card lost numerous bouts in the days leading up to the show. The event first lost two matchups on Tuesday due to “health and safety protocols,” then lost another fight yesterday after a fighter missed weight.
The prelims are set to open with a fight between Orlando Mendoza and Jon McNeil. Both fighters will be fighting in their pro debut.
MMA database Tapology says Mendoza has an amateur record of three wins since 2018. He last competed quite recently, defeating Mike Basile on a card in July.
McNeil has much more experience on his record, with fights dating back to 2014. His record is not flawless, as he has been on the giving and receiving end of quick stoppages.
Bout 2: Sebastian Ruiz (2-3) vs. Jeffrey Glossner (3-2) (Catchweight 142 lbs)
Sebastian Ruiz and Jeffrey Glossner will both look for their first Bellator victory when matched on the prelims.
Glossner appeared on a Bellator card in April, where he was submitted by undefeated prospect Jaylon Bates. He has since bounced back with a win over Scott Dirkson on the regional scene and is now back to the Bellator cage.
Ruiz hasn’t competed since his Bellator debut in 2019, which was a split decision loss to Mike Kimbel. A win on Friday would even his pro record with three wins and three losses.
Bout 3: Pam Sorenson (8-3) vs. Roberta Samad (5-1) (Featherweight)
The short three-fight prelims will wrap up with a featherweight bout between Pam Sorenson and Roberta Samad.
Sorenson will be making her first Bellator appearance on this card. She has fought as a pro since 2015, with most of her bouts taking place in regional promotion Invicta FC. She became the promotion’s featherweight champ in her last bout, defeating Kaitlin Young in 2019.
Samad is returning to Bellator after over five years outside of the promotion. Her sole fight for Bellator dates back to 2015, where she lost to Julia Budd, who went on to later become a champion. Samad has competed once since then, defeating Moriel Charneski on a PFL card in 2019.
Main Card (9:00PM EDT) (Showtime)
Bout 4: Ty Gwerder (5-2) vs. Khadzhimurat Bestaev (10-4) (Middleweight)
Three-fight Bellator vet Ty Gwerder will fight promotional newcomer Khadzhimurat Bestaev in the opening bout of the main card.
Bestaev is making his first appearance after losing a fight on UFC TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series” last year. He lost to Phil Hawes, who later signed with the UFC. Most of Bestaev’s wins have come in regional promotion Gladiator Challenge. He has fought twice in LFA, although he came up short in both appearances.
Gwerder is returning with the goal of bouncing back from a loss he took in the fall. The 26-year-old was on the losing side of a unanimous decision in October against Dalton Rosta. The fight moved his promotional record to one win and two losses.
Bout 5: Davion Franklin (3-0) vs. Everett Cummings (15-0) (Heavyweight)
Two undefeated heavyweights will collide on the main card when Davion Franklin faces Everett Cummings.
Franklin is a homegrown talent for Bellator, as all three of his pro fights thus far have taken place in their cage. He scored a quick win in his last outing, stopping journeyman Tyler King within a round in what played out like a great mismatch. Despite only three fights, Franklin shows tons of skill as an MMA fighter.
He now gets the biggest challenge of his career thus far. Cummings has attained 15 pro wins since his debut in 2012. With that being said, most withs have come against inexperienced or unsuccessful fighters. The combined record of all of his opponents is 46 wins and 60 losses, and his first four pro fights came against opponents who were making their debut.
Whoever comes out on top on Friday night could add the biggest win of their career to their résumé. Equally important, it will continue their undefeated run.
Bout 6: Magomed Magomedov (18-1) vs. Raufeon Stots (16-1) (Bantamweight)
In a clash of two ranked bantamweights, Magomed Magomedov and Raufeon Stots will meet on Friday.
This pairing was originally set to happen at Bellator’s huge California card in late July, although it was later moved ahead to this date.
Magomedov has had a quick, yet dominant run since joining Bellator last year. He won his promotional debut in late 2020, defeating Matheus Mattos via unanimous decision. He scored a stoppage win in his most recent appearance, submitting Cee Jay Hamilton in April with a rear naked choke.
He now faces Stots, who has also been on an upward trajectory lately. Stots has gone undefeated through four fights in Bellator, having been with the promotion since 2019. He added a big win to that streak in his last fight, defeating veteran Josh Hill in May via scorecards.
Bout 7: Andrey Koreshkov (23-4) vs. Sabah Homasi (15-9) (Welterweight)
Former Bellator Champion Andrey Koreshkov will return to the promotion to face Sabah Homasi in the co-main event.
Koreshkov is a long-time veteran of Bellator. He has appeared under their lights over a dozen times since first joining them in 2012 – however, his last fight saw him completely out of their universe for the first time in years. Koreshkov’s last fight was on an AMC Fight Nights card in February, where he stopped Adriano Rodrigues in the second round with an armbar. After that one-off fight on the regional scene, he is back to Bellator.
Koreshkov’s best run in Bellator was from 2013 to 2016, where he earned six consecutive wins and became the promotion’s welterweight champ.
Homasi had his momentum in Bellator stopped recently. The rising welterweight had picked up three wins in the promotion from 2019 and 2020, although he was finished in his last fight in a hectic back-and-forth striking exchange against Paul Daley.
Bout 8: Gegard Mousasi (47-7-2) vs. John Salter (18-4) (Bellator Middleweight Championship)
Gegard Mousasi will look to continue his second stint as Bellator Middleweight Champion in Friday’s main event when facing John Salter.
Mousasi, an MMA veteran that has fought in the UFC, Strikeforce, DREAM, Pride FC and more, first joined Bellator in 2017. While he was coming from the UFC, Mousasi he entered on a five-fight win streak. His success only continued in Bellator, as he defeated Rafael Carvalho to become the promotion’s 185-pound champ in only his second bout for promotion. He then defended the belt once before losing it to Rafael Lovato Jr. in 2019.
After a win against Lyoto Machida later that year, Mousasi found himself in the title picture after Lovato Jr. announced his retirement from MMA and vacated his belt.
Mousasi fought for the vacant belt last year, prevailing in a five-round fight against welterweight champ Douglas Lima via unanimous decision. Now with the belt back in his possession, Mousasi will be looking to defend his belt for the first time of his run on Friday.
Salter has been with Bellator since 2015, but his appearance on Friday will be his first ever in a title position. He has fought nine times for the promotion thus far, with his sole loss coming against a former champ in Rafael Lovato Jr.
Salter is being given a title fight after scoring three consecutive wins. His last victory came in November, where he pulled off a third round arm triangle choke on Andrew Kapel.