Bellator Middleweight Champion Gegard Mousasi was able to adapt against and eventually neutralize the wrestling skills of John Salter to defend his belt for the first time in his current title run. Mousasi earned a third-round stoppage win against Salter in the title fight, taking him out with ground and pound.
The win for Mousasi headlined Bellator 264, which took place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
The champion’s victory saw him struggle early, but eventually succeed after adjusting to Salter’s style.
Salter had a good opening round, getting on the back of Mousasi and controlling him on the ground for a few minutes.
Salter got the fight to the ground again in the second round, but Mousasi was able to eventually flip the position and do damage in the final minute of the frame.
Mousasi stopped numerous takedowns in the third round. After stopping many shots, he decided to go to the ground by reversing an attempt by Salter. Mousasi then proceeded to score with hard ground and pound shots that went unanswered and eventually caused the referee to step in shortly after.
Mousasi was the much better striker on the feet, often piecing together punches that would land clean on Salter.
Mousasi regained the Bellator 185-pound belt last year, defeating Douglas Lima via unanimous decision to claim the then-vacant title.
Mousasi was the champion before, holding the belt in 2018 and 2019. In the first stint he dropped the belt to Rafael Lovato Jr., who went on to retire and vacate the championship.
Bellator wasted no time to hype up the next challenger for Mousasi, who will be Austin Vanderford. The undefeated Bellator prospect did a respectful face-off with the champ in the cage and complimented his track record as an athlete.
“I’m excited to get out there and test myself,” said Vanderford about the potential fight against Mousasi.
Salter was getting his first title fight since joining Bellator in 2015. He had won eight of his previous nine fights in the promotion and entered Friday on a three-fight win streak.
Former Champ Koreshkov Wins Return Over Homasi
Andrey Koreshkov had a strong return to Bellator in the co-main event, defeating ranked welterweight Sabah Homasi on scorecards.
The striking from Koreshkov greatly outnumbered the output of Homasi, landing at a higher volume and visibly causing more damage.
Koreshkov scored with numerous knees during the bout, including some that saw him take flight. The striking from him overall was an issue for Homasi.
Homasi was in trouble many times in the first and second round, but found himself in a somewhat safer position as they grappled for the final five minutes.
Koreshkov, a former Bellator Champion, was coming back to the promotion after competing in regional promotion AMC Fight Nights once earlier this year. He now has 14 Bellator wins through 18 appearances.
Homasi was going from facing one veteran to another. His previous appearance saw him get stopped in the second round by Paul Daley.
Stots Prevails In High-Level Bantamweight Bout Against Magomedov
Raufeon Stots scored the biggest win of his Bellator career on Friday, fighting to a decision victory against Magomed Magoemdov.
Wrestling and grappling were the main focus of the fight, as both fighters shot for numerous takedowns through all three rounds. Stots was able to fend off a ton of Magomedov’s attempts, having a successful first round before the second and third round were much closer.
Both fighters entered Friday with a large amount of momentum.
Stots was on an eight-fight win streak that included four appearances in the Bellator cage. His previous bout saw him defeat veteran Josh Hill on scorecards.
Magomedov’s sole prior loss came against former UFC Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan.
Heavyweight Franklin Continues Undefeated Run With 21-Second Win
Davion Franklin scored the fourth win of his flawless pro career on Friday, finishing fellow heavyweight Everett Cummings in just 21 seconds with strikes.
Franklin backed Cummings up early with a kick to the leg. After dropping Cummings with a right cross, a few follow-up strikes from Franklin called an end to the fight.
All four of Franklin’s pro wins since he turned pro in early 2020 have taken place in Bellator.
Cummings entered the bout with an impressive 15-fight undefeated record, although most fights came against opponents with negative records.
Bellator Newcomer Bestaev Takes Close Win Against Gwerder
Khadzhimurat Bestaev won his Bellator debut to open the main card, defeating Ty Gwerder in a unanimous decision after a hectic three-round battle (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Gwerder scored a knockdown in the second minute of action, flooring Bestaev with a left hook. Bestaev was able to get to his feet quickly after, although Gwerder remained pressed on him with strikes.
The fight became a back-and-forth battle on the feet seemingly once fatigue became a factor in the second round.
Bestaev had Gwerder in a ton of trouble early in the third round, knocking him down twice with a combination of punches and a follow-up kick to the head. The fight went back to the ground after, where Bestaev looked for a triangle choke from his back.
Bestaev was making his Bellator debut with the fight. The LFA and “Dana White’s Contender Series” alum had won two of his previous five fights.
Gwerder was attempting to bounce back from a decision loss he took to Dalton Rosta in his previous Bellator appearance.
Rest of the Card
Invicta FC veteran Pam Sorenson won her Bellator debut in the top prelim of the card, defeating Roberta Samad via unanimous decision. Samad was showing up in Bellator for the first time since 2015, with her most recent bout before Friday being a win over Moriel Charneski in 2019.
Jeffrey Glossner’s high amount of control on the ground with constant submission attempts earned him a unanimous decision win over Sebastian Ruiz on Friday. The win was Glossner’s first win in Bellator through two appearances in the promotion.
Jon McNeil had a dominant win to open the prelims, finishing Orlando Mendoza late in the final round with ground and pound. McNeil scored a takedown in every round of the fight, often advancing into full mount or back positions to land strikes and attempt submissions.
Main Card (9:00PM EDT) (Showtime)
Bout 8: Gegard Mousasi def. John Salter via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 2:07) (Bellator Middleweight Championship)
Bout 7: Andrey Koreshkov def. Sabah Homasi via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 6: Raufeon Stots def. Magomed Magomedov via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 5: Davion Franklin def. Everett Cummings via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:21)
Bout 4: Khadzhimurat Bestaev def. Ty Gwerder via Decision, Unanimous
Preliminary Card (7:30PM EDT) (Youtube)
Bout 3: Pam Sorenson def. Roberta Samad via Decision, Split
Bout 2: Jeffrey Glossner def. Sebastian Ruiz via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 1: Jon McNeil def. Orlando Mendoza via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 3:57)