The next middleweight title fight for Bellator MMA champion Gegard Mousasi has been set. With news first reported by MMA Junkie on Tuesday, Mousasi is set to face top-ranked title challenger Austin Vanderford on February 25 at a Bellator event scheduled for February 25, which is set to take place in Dublin, Ireland.
Gegard Mousasi is currently riding a three-fight win streak, his last loss coming by majority decision to Rafael Lovato Jr when he dropped the belt at Bellator 223 in 2019 but has earned it back and defended it once since then. The loss to Lovato is the lone loss of Mousasi’s tenure with Bellator MMA, while he has picked up wins over John Salter, Douglas Lima, Lyoto Machida, Rory MacDonald, and more.
Following his title defense over John Salter earlier this year at Bellator 264, Gegard Mousasi met with Vanderford in the cage and the two met with the media separately to discuss their eventual future meeting. Mousasi did say that he didn’t believe that Vanderford could take him down and hurt him in the fight, while Vanderford told the media he believes the champion will underestimate him.
The top-ranked title challenger Vanderford earned his No. 1 spot by defeating Fabian Edwards in his last fight at Bellator 259 in May of 2021. After taking some time off to recover from injuries, it’s apparent that the undefeated Vanderford is ready to compete for his first title opportunity with Bellator MMA. Holding a 5-0 record under the promotion, Vanderford actually picked up a win on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018, but was passed over on a contract, and eventually signed with Bellator MMA, where he has thrived.
Facing Mousasi will be his biggest and toughest test to date for Austin Vanderford, who will likely be a big betting underdog heading into the matchup, but would also solidify his name among the best middleweights in the world if he is victorious. As for the champion, he’ll look to extend his winning streak and his title defenses in his second stint as the promotion’s champion.
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