Bellator’s middleweight championship is to be defended this weekend, and world-travelled Gegard Mousasi (47-7, 2 draws) tries to remain king of the hill when he meets submission ace and hard hitter John Salter (18-4).
Salter’s had a long and winding road through the UFC and Strikeforce before landing in Bellator and racking up seven wins in a row. That streaked got snapped by then champ Rafael Lovato, but Salter went right back to the grind and won three straight to get another bite at the apple. Almost half of his wins are by submission, and he’s integrated his wrestling very well into his game to pressure opponents and get into more favorable situations.
Mousasi is still who he is, one of the best middleweights on the planet. What that leads to is the questions of what happens when he’s not on point. His jab is lethal and his sneaky takedowns still serve him well. Varied strikes and deadly accuracy keep him in favorable situations standing. This will largely come down to whether or not Salter can weather the storm standing and nail some counters to then get the fight where he needs it to be.
Former welterweight king Andrey Koreshkov (23-4) has been in Bellator since 2012 and returns after a one-off outside the organization back in February. He’s also grown and improved over the years with his powerful striking, accuracy, and fight IQ. We’re in a treat this time, because he’s up against Sabah Homasi (15-9). Homasi won four straight and then suffered a loss against Paul Daley, but two of those wins were pretty amazing. Homasi is defensively compromised when he gets aggressive, but his shots land with major impact.
Magomed Magomedov (18-1) is someone that Bellator should be making more noise about. After all, he’s not just massively talented, but he went 1-1 against Petr Yan. His last Bellator bout saw him turn some heads in an impressive performance, and he’s now facing Raufeon Stots. A Roufusport fighter, Stots’ only professional loss is to Merab Dvashvili. His recent wins include Hawaiian prospect Cheyden Leialoha, Cass Bell, Keith Lee and Josh Hill. His wrestling is on point, and his athleticism is great for cutting distance and exploding into takedowns. Magomedov may be the future of the division, and this is an excellent pairing as Stots could upset the apple cart.
Former Invicta champ Pam Sorenson (8-3) campaigned for a fight against Cris Cyborg a while back, and now that she’s in Bellator, she starts her road in Bellator to make it a reality. But first she’s got to get that work done against the very tough Brazilian Roberta Samad (5-1).
Finally, Contender Series alum Khadzimurat Bestaev (10-4) meets Xtreme Couture finisher Ty Gwerder (5-2). A fight between Justin Montalvo and Kendly St. Louis was cancelled after St. Louis missed weight.
You can watch the weigh-ins here:
Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. John Salter (185) – BellatorMiddleweight Championship
Sabah Homasi (171) vs. Andrey Koreshkov (170.75) – Welterweight
Magomed Magomedov (135.75) vs. Raufeon Stots (136) – Bantamweight
Everett Cummings (257) vs. Davion Franklin (264) – Heavyweight
Khadzimurat Bestaev (185) vs. Ty Gwerder (185) – Middleweight
Roberta Samad (146) vs. Pam Sorenson (145.75)
Jeffrey Glossner (142) vs. Sebastian Ruiz (141.74) – 142-pound catchweight
Jon McNeil (195) vs. Orlando Mendoza (194) – 195-pound catchweight
Bellator 264 starts this Friday night with the prelims at 7:30pm EST, streaming via Bellator’s YouTube channel. The main card starts at 9:00pm exclusively on Showtime.
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