Since making his way to Bellator MMA, Gegard Mousasi has been on a tear, going 7-1, winning the Middleweight title and racking up a few title defenses along the way. In his next outing, he will attempt to hand Johnny Eblen his first loss when they collide at Bellator 282 on Friday (June 24, 2022) in Uncasville, Connecticut. For Eblen, though, the bright lights of a title fight isn’t going to rattle him one bit.
Speaking to the media during a recent virtual scrum, Eblen talked about his first-ever shot at winning gold in a major promotion, and how the huge championship fights compare to his other bouts.
“Higher stakes, same sh*t,” Eblen said via MMA Junkie. “It feels like the right step. It feels like nothing has really changed too much. I’m fighting a little later, fighting a few more rounds, and fighting a better guy. That’s normal when you move up,” he added.
According to “Diamond Hands,” once he takes care of business the world might consider it an upset, but in his eyes it won’t be much of shocker taking out a long-time veteran and proven champion such as Mousasi.
“It’s going to put my name on the map, so it’s kind of nice. I’m going to shut some haters up, even though I don’t really care about that too much. But [I’ll] solidify my name. People will be like, ‘Damn. Johnny’s legit.’ I don’t think I’ll be ‘shocking the world.’”
Eblen made his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut just five years ago, but he quickly made his impression on the sport, racking up 11 straight wins with no losses — including going 7-0 in Bellator. Defeating Mousasi and taking the strap would be the cherry on top of a career that still has a lot of room for growth.
As for Mousasi, he is coming of a first-round shellacking of Austin Vanderford (see it here) and is currently the owner of a four-fight win streak. Since 2016, “Dreamcatcher” has proven that he is among the elite at 185 pounds in any organization, racking up a 12-1 record, which includes winning his five fights with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
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