Gegard Mousasi’s near-perfect career as Bellator MMA middleweight continued on Friday, after defending his 185-pound championship against John Salter in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Mousasi (48-7-2) earned a TKO at 2:07 in the third round by knocking on the ground. The 36-year-old veteran fighter withstood an early grappling attack from Salter (18-5) before dominating him from top position in the second and third rounds.
The middleweight fight headlined the Bellator 264 event at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Mousasi, a former champion in multiple organizations including Strikeforce, is 6-1 since signing with Bellator in 2017. Prior to his arrival in the Bellator cage, Mousasi was one of the best middleweights in the UFC, and he was on his way. to earn a title shot in that promotion before accepting an offer with Bellator.
Mousasi is a two-time Bellator middleweight champion. He won his first belt in 2018 and defended it once, before losing a grappling showdown against Rafael Lovato Jr. The Dutch champion regained his title by defeating former welterweight champion Douglas Lima last October.
Aside from taking a knockdown in the first round, Mousasi was clearly up for Salter in all areas. He showed little respect for Salter’s punches, as he basically stalked him throughout the fight, throwing jabs and right hands. Once he got the top position in the second and third rounds, Salter’s only recourse was to take cover on defense.
Mousasi snapped Salter’s three-win streak. He is expected to face No. 1 contender Austin Vanderford (11-0) in his next defense.
“He is a legend in the sport,” said Vanderford, who was present at the event. “He went in there and delivered. I’m excited to get out there and put myself to the test.”