Gegard Mousasi made his promotional debut at Bellator 185 on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., against former champion Alexander Shlemenko. Mousasi got the win, but took a beating in the process.
Mousasi’s game plan went out the window in the opening round after Shlemenko landed a left hand that nearly closed Mousasi’s right eye. The former UFC contender immediately looked to get the fight to the ground. He got Shlemenko down and took the Russian’s back. Shlemenko defended the submission attempt and got back to his feet only to be grounded again. Mousasi looked for several submissions but was unable to find a finish.
In the second frame, Mousasi had difficulty taking Shlemenko down in the early going. Midway through the round, Mousasi secured a takedown and took Shlemenko’s back. He worked to lock on a rear-naked choke, but Shlemenko’s submission defense proved effective.
In the final round, Shlemenko opened up with his strikes. He landed a spinning back fist and combinations. At one point, Mousasi fell to his back. Mousasi absorbed big shots in the third frame, but survived.
After fifteen minutes of fighting, the judges scored the fight for Mousasi by unanimous decision to the sound of boos from those in attendance.
“He’s a big puncher,” said Mousasi following the win. “It was 2 to 1.”
“I had a lot of pressure coming in. The eye shut down and I had to fight on instincts.”
In the co-main event, Neiman Gracie finished late replacement Zak Bucia by submission in the second round. Gracie secured an early takedown in the opening round and worked for a rear-naked choke. Bucia defended well and reversed the position, but found himself still in danger by the submission specialist.
Gracie took Bucia down again in the opening moments of the second frame. He secured a body lock and softened Bucia up until an opportunity to sink in a choke presented itself. Bucia tried to defend the submission attempt, but eventually tapped out to a neck crank.
Boxing standout Heather Hardy made her second mixed martial arts appearance on the main card against Kristina Williams and tasted her first defeat inside the cage. Hardy was bloodied and battered by a kick to the face from Williams. The ringside doctor called a halt to the bout two minutes into the second frame.
Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko Results
- Gegard Mousasi def. Alexander Shlemenko by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Neiman Gracie def. Zak Bucia by submission (neck crank) at 2:27, R2
- Kristina Williams def. Heather Hardy by TKO (doctor stoppage) at 2:00, R2
- Ryan Quinn def. Marcus Surin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Lisa Blaine def. Ana Julaton by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- John Lopez def. Billy Giovanella by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)
- Kevin Carrier def. Jose Antonio Perez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Vovka Clay def. Frank Sforza by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:17, R2
- Don Shainis def. Matthew Denning by TKO (punches) at 4:50, R1
- Jordan Young def. Alec Hooben by submission (triangle choke) at 2:44, R1
- Costello Van Steenis def. Steve Skrzat by submission (strikes) at 2:52, R1
- Joaquin Buckley def. Vinicius DeJesus by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Pete Rogers def. Timothy Wheeler by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:37, R1
- Dean Hancock def. John Beneduce by TKO (strikes) at 3:38, R1