For a few minutes, it looked as though Gegard Mousasi’s wrestling would be his kryptonite once again. Then the Bellator middleweight champ found his sprawl (and got a helpful coat of sweat), and poured on the punishment.
Salter was pounded out on the canvas at the 2:07 mark of the third frame, bringing Mousasi the first defense of his second reign as Bellator middleweight champ.
“I’m way stronger than people think,” Mousasi said afterward. “Maybe I look skinny, but physically, I was the stronger guy there.”
“I’m excited to get out there and test myself,” said Vanderford, who’s won five straight since signing with Bellator and served as a desk commentator for Friday’s event.
Mousasi chased Salter around the cage with punches, timing the challenger in transition. Salter’s charge allowed him to trap the champ on his butt against the cage, and he nearly took the back. But Mousasi stayed calm and waited his turn.
“I didn’t want to give him my back,” he said. “I knew conditioning is on my side.”
Salter wouldn’t get another good shot at using the jiu-jitsu he needed to win the fight. By the end of the second, Mousasi had reversed to top position and was raining down strikes to the bell. It wasn’t long before he got on top again in the third, and referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in before things got really bad for Salter.
“He’s a southpaw, everything is more difficult,” Mousasi said. “It was a little more difficult to get my punches in, but I felt good.”
Koreshkov punishes Homasi over three rounds
Over three rounds, Koreshkov was a step ahead of Homasi in all ranges of the fight, bloodying his foe in the second round with several flying knees and punches. Homasi spent the final minutes of the fight doing just enough to survive, and judges gave Koreshkov two 30-26 scores and one 30-27 for the dominant performance in his first Bellator appearance in 20 months.
Stots breaks through versus Magomedov
In a stunning display of bantamweight talent, Magomed Magomedov and Raufeon Stots fought for every inch of position over three rounds. But it was Stots that frequently shut down his Dagestani opponent, whether in wrestling or striking, before taking home a unanimous decision via scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27. The shutout scores reflected a fight that was far closer than it appeared on scorecards, with Magomedov and Stots trading back control as time ticked away in the third. Stots’ attempt was closer, and his last-second defense saved him an incredible turnaround from Magomedov.
Franklin throttles Cummings
The first kick Davion Franklin landed – to the knee – had Everett Cummings wincing. The second one – to the head – rattled Cummings to the point where a flurry of right hands cut through his defense and sent him to the canvas. It was all over in 21 seconds with the Jackson Wink MMA product now 4-0 as a pro. He used his post-fight speech to call out heavyweight vet Cheick Kongo, who’s already booked to face Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 265.
Bestaev outlasts Gwerder
A left hook nearly netted Ty Gwerder a first-round finish. But the hard swinging Hawaiian ran low on air in the second, allowing Bestaev to gain back ground with his long arms. A brief lapse in defense almost cost Gwerder a knockout by head kick, but he managed to survive to the final bell, bleeding from top position. The damage was enough to earn Bestaev the unanimous decision via unanimous 29-28 scores.
Full Bellator 264 results:
Gegard Mousasi def. John Salter via TKO (strikes) - Round 3, 2:07
Andrey Koreshkov def. Sabah Homasi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Raufeon Stots def. Magomed Magomedov via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Davion Franklin def. Everett Cummings via KO (punches) - Round 1, 0:21
Khadzhimurat Bestaev def. Ty Gwerder via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)