Rafael Lovato Jr. dethroned Gegard Mousasi in their main even clash at Bellator 223 on Saturday night. The crowd in attendance, at the SSE Arena in London, witnessed the upset as the grappling legend proved too much for his opponent. The newly crowned Bellator middleweight champion went the full 25 minutes in a clash that help Lovato Jr. realise his lifelong dream.
Lovato Jr. (10-0) took the first two rounds of the fight by implementing a grappling-heavy game plan that proved quite successful. The 3rd and 4th rounds swung back in Mousasi’s favour. He managed to gain top position in both and made the most of it by landing heavy ground strikes.
Going into the 5th round all was to play for as both fighters appeared level with 2 rounds apiece. An early takedown from Lovato at the start of the final round however spelled disaster for Mousasi. Although Mousasi remained exceptionally calm anytime he was taken down in the fight, fatigue in the fifth played its part.
Still defending effectively and intelligently, Mousasi could not find a route back up to his feet. Lovato Jr. cruised along in the final round as he controlled Mousasi on the ground. He couldn’t find the submission he was badly searching for but in a deciding round he was controlling Mousasi enough to win it.
The fight went to the judges scorecards with on judge scoring the fight a draw. The two other Judges both saw it the same, scoring it 48-47 giving Lovato Jr. the majority win.