At Bellator London on Saturday, Gegard Mousasi was looking to defend his middleweight title against Rafael Lovato Jr. There, he was coming off a TKO win over Rory MacDonald. But, the jiu-jitsu star in Lovato Jr. grinded out a decision win over the former UFC star to become the new champion.
Now, after such a close fight, Lovato Jr. wouldn’t be shocked if Bellator ran the fight back right away.
“If that’s what they want to do, I can’t blame them,” Lovato Jr. said backstage after Bellator London. “It was an extremely close fight, and it is Mousasi. It was a seven-month training camp. I grinded so hard this year. … I’m off to Spain with my love, and it’s time to sit by the pool.”
Even if his first title defense is against Mousasi, Rafael Lovato Jr. is not wavering from his goal which is to remain champion. He has never lost in MMA and doesn’t believe he ever will.
“Right now, the mission is to keep this thing over my shoulder and around my waist for as long as possible, and for sure, this is how I’m riding out into the sunset,” he said. “We’ve worked our whole lives for this, and I want to keep enjoying the moment and taking the momentum even further. But this will be how I end my professional career.”
In the end, Lovato Jr. still can’t believe he is the champion. Many counted out the jiu-jitsu star, but he pulled off the upset and is now the Bellator middleweight champion.
“It’s extremely surreal,” he said. “I always envisioned having a fight like that, a complete war, coming down to the wire, bringing out the best in me. It was the best way it could possibly go against a legend like that. I was a big underdog. A few people believed in me… and we did it.”