Bellator 264: “Mousasi vs. Salter” is set to go down tomorrow night (Fri., Aug. 13, 2021) from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., broadcasting via Showtime. Headlining the event will be a Middleweight title fight between division champion Gegard Mousasi and John Salter. In the co-main event, former Welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov will face Sabah Homasi.
185 lbs.: Middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi vs. John Salter
After winning the Middleweight title in Oct. 2020, Gegard Mousasi will attempt to defend it for the first time (on his current run) against John Salter, the No. 1 ranked fighter in the division. On paper, it may seem as Mousasi has the advantage everywhere, but Salter is as dangerous as they come. Winner of 10 of his last 11, Salter knows two things: winning on a consistent basis and finishing the job. Of his 18 wins, only one has gone the distance, finishing all of his opponents in impressive fashion. He will need that type of performance if he wants to dethrone “Dreamcatcher,” who is also 10-1 in his last 11 fights. People are sleeping on this fight and I don’t see why. You have two talented Middleweights who are aggressive as they come. While one (Salter) isn’t exactly a household name, he has the chance to up his stock with a win over the longtime veteran. I just don’t see it happening this time around. Mousasi’s experience will really play a big factor here, ultimately pulling it out after five rounds of action.
Final Prediction: Mousasi via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Andrey Koreshkov vs. Sabah Homasi
At Bellator 257 Homasi was involved in a heck of a back-and-forth barn-burner with Paul Daley, going toe-to-toe with one of the hardest hitters at 170 pounds (see it again here). In the end, Daley pulled out the second round TKO win, ending Homasi’s four fight win streak. But Homasi proved he has what it takes to bang with the big boys in defeat. Now, he looks to get back on the winning track with a win over Koreshkov, who is returning to the Bellator cage after fighting for AMC Fights in his previous bout where he defeated Adrian Rodrigues via armbar earlier this year. But don’t get it twisted, Koreshkov is a Bellator fighter through and through, going 13-4 during his stint with the promotion, winning the division strap in 2015 with a big victory over Douglas Lima. After defending his belt against Ben Henderson, he lost it soon after when he ran into Lima’s punches at Bellator 164. This is a great matchup between two striking specialists that could end up stealing the show. And you can bank on someone hitting the floor...hard.
Final Prediction: Koreshkov via third round TKO
135 lbs.: Magomed Magomedov vs. Raufeon Stots
While UFC’s Bantamweight division is on fire at the moment, Bellator’s 135-pound weight class isn’t anything to scoff at. With Sergio Pettis now leading the way, and longtime veterans like Juan Archuleta still in the mix, there are several other contenders who are climbing the ranks and making waves of their own, including Magomedov and Stots. Magomedov is 2-0 under the Bellator banner, but he is on a five fight win streak and owns an impressive 18-1 record. His lone loss in his career came against none other than former UFC Bantamweight king, Petr Yan. In short, the man can scrap and he has done enough to earn the No. 3 spot on the official rankings. Stots, meanwhile, is on a similar run, winning 16 of 17 with his lone defeat coming against UFC’s Merab Dvalishvili. He is on an eight fight win streak and has won all four of his fights in Bellator, good enough to put him at No. 4. This fight has the makings of an all-out war that will definitely put the winner in line for a shot at the title.
Final Prediction: Magomedov via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Davion Franklin vs. Everett Cummings
Franklin may only have three fights in his pro MMA career, but he’s already made an impact, winning two via first round knockout, which is good enough to put him at No. 7 on the official Bellator rankings. Franklin is tasked with welcoming Everett Cummings back to Bellator after winning two fights for the promotion three years apart. Cummings is also undefeated at 15-0. What’s even more impressive is that all 15 of his fights have come via stoppage...13 in the very first round. When these two heavy hitters get going, you can expect a lot of heavy shots in search of a homerun. And that’s just what will happen. There isn’t a lot to discuss here, just expect a knockout. Franklin can possibly leap into the Top 5 while Cummings could break through the Top 10 with a big win here.
Final Prediction: Franklin via second round knockout
185 lbs.: Ty Gwerder vs. Khadzhimurat Bestaev
After coming up short on Dana White’s “Contender Series,” Bestaev got the call up from Scott Coker and Co. Bestaev doesn’t exactly have an eye-popping record with notable wins that get people talking, but he will attempt to change all of that now that he’s in the big leagues. Against Gwerder, he will be facing someone who has only been competing professionally for three years, going 1-1 so far for the Viacom-owned company. He is coming off a loss to Dalton Rosta at Bellator 250 and if he wants to get back on track he is going to have to be at the top of his game because all Bestaev does is get the best of his opponents, finishing every single one of them in the very first round. Can he get the job done in the first against Gwerder? Sure. But he has also been stopped in every one of his losses, which means his mentality is kill or be killed. It’s a dangerous (although exciting) style which will pay off dividends for him this time.
Final Prediction: Bestaev via second round submission
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