This Thursday’s Bellator main event had more excitement around it than any previous fight for the promotion. The hype was well deserved as welterweight champ Douglas Lima was moving up in weight to take on former Dream and Bellator champ Gegard Mousasi for the vacant middleweight belt in a fight that’s been brewing since February. Lima would either become double champ or fan favorite Mousasi would reclaim the title.
Bellator had a great lineup of fights scheduled for its 250th event. Unfortunately, the card lost three fights between Wednesday and Thursday, one due to a weight miss and two more for positive COVID tests from the day before the fights. The two fighters who tested positive were Veta Arteaga and Connecticut’s Nick Newell. All fighters had been quarantining at Mohegan Sun and getting tested daily. Bellator has been doing all that they can to keep their athletes safe while still holding events, and hopefully this means that not many others involved with the event test positive, and it is good that Newell and Arteaga are doing well.
In the co-main event, Henry Corrales and Brandon Girtz met in a three-round stand-up affair. Girtz had a fair performance in his featherweight debut, but he was a bit overzealous with his offense and left himself exposed when he jumped into the pocket. Corrales remained composed and capitalized on these openings, as well as piecing up Girtz’s legs with kicks, en route to a decision win. Surprisingly, two judges gave Corrales all three rounds while the third judge gave Girtz all three rounds. After the fight, Corrales said he was moving down to bantamweight as his loss to the now champ Juan Archuletta still does not sit well, and he wants to run that one back in the future.
In the main event, Mousasi and Lima respectfully touched gloves multiple times before the fight, and respect for each other’s capabilities is a good way to describe the fight. Mousasi was able to take Lima down in the first round and dealt heavy ground and pound to his opponent. It was surprising that Lima survived the round, and the damage he incurred made him hesitant to engage with Mousasi for more than one punch at a time during the next two rounds. In the fourth and final rounds, Lima began to regain his confidence and put together combinations, but Mousasi had already secured the victory on the scorecards and fought safe. Lima’s leg kicks had left their mark on Mousasi by the time the final bell had rung, but it was too little too late as Mousasi had clear claims to the first three rounds.
Lima’s performance was respectable and it’s understandable why he was hesitant in rounds two and three, but even Lima showed a bit of disappointment in his performance as he shook his head walking back to his corner after the fourth round. It won’t be easy for Lima to get another chance at being double champ, but as Bellator President Scott Coker pointed out after the fight, he is still the champ at welterweight and there are several opponents waiting to challenge him, with the most likely next matchup being a rematch with Lorenz Larkin.
On the other hand, Mousasi stated after the fight that he expects to fight John Salter next, who is 8-1 in Bellator with his sole loss coming to the now retired champ Rafael Lovato Jr. Coker did not necessarily share this sentiment, and likes the idea of Mousasi fighting some of the promotion’s bigger names at light-heavyweight while the promotion works to build a clearer top contender in the middleweight division.