When reigning Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi faced off against welterweight champion Rory MacDonald at Bellator 206 last weekend, fight fans expected a master class in martial arts from the two pugilists.
What they got instead was Mousasi completely dismantling MacDonald en route to a violent second-round TKO win.
To put this performance into perspective, if Mousasi and MacDonald were characters from popular Mortal Kombat series, then fans would have heard the signature ‘flawless victory’ sound effect as the words splashed across the screen.
But for Mousasi, this display of perfection went exactly as his team planned.
“The gameplan was exactly what we did,” said Mousasi during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “Kick him at range, straight punches, more kicks to the body and make him desperate to shoot and take over. After I shot on him and tried to take him down, we didn’t want to end up in a guillotine. So we wanted him to come to us and that’s what he did. I think he got punched a lot and got a little bit desperate, went for my leg and I ended up on top position.”
During the bout, after eating several jabs to his historically damaged nose, MacDonald dropped down for an ill-timed imanari roll, which proved to be the turning point of the fight. For all of his game planning, this attack was the only thing to catch Mousasi off guard.
“He did that against [Stephen] “Wonderboy” Thompson,” said Mousasi when asked specifically about MacDonald’s takedown. “But [Rory] is a southpaw, and to do that against another southpaw, I didn’t think he’d do that to me.”
From here, Mousasi essentially put MacDonald through a woodchopper as he cut through his guard and battered him with elbows from the full mount.
“When I hit him on the nose, after that he was defending,” said Mousasi. “Even from the guard, I don’t know if people could see it on camera, those were hard punches and hard elbows. So eventually he opened his guard and I got to pass his guard and get into full mount.”
Given the fact Mousasi spent a majority of his career competing at 205 pounds and MacDonald was moving up from 170 pounds to take the fight at 185 pounds, the size difference between the two was a major storyline leading up to the superfight.
While Mousasi was quick to accept his size definitely helped him out when the fight went reached the canvas, he pointed to the recent history of welterweights jumping up in weight as proof it wasn’t the sole reason he got his hand raised.
“I always said size does matter in the clinch or I if would get the top position, then size would definitely matter,” said Mousasi. “I think that was the case here. I always said I was faster than him. He was thinking that he was fast but I was faster than him. I have the batter stand up.
“Georges St-Pierre fought Michael Bisping and he won. Kelvin Gastelum is fighting for the middleweight title and he’s a welterweight. [UFC middleweight champion] Robert Whittaker himself was a welterweight. So before people go and say ‘well it’s the size difference’ - it 100-percent made a difference when were on the ground but I think stand up I was better and my gameplan was better.”
As for what’s next, Mousasi is already eyeing his next title defense against Rafael Lovato Jr. before turning his attention to his old UFC rival Lyoto Machida.
“Lovato is next,” said Mousasi. “He’s undefeated. He’s 6-0 in Bellator or something like that. He’s the next number one contender. I would like to face him in January then fight Machida after.”