by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Strikeforce’s “Carano vs. Cyborg” fight card marked the U.S. debut of Armenian fighter Gegard Mousasi, and what a debut it was. It took exactly one minute for him to leave a lasting impression in the minds of those who may not have known him before Saturday night.
Both fighters started off looking to strike, and it was Renato “Babalu” Sobral that caught an early kick from Mousasi, looking like he might be gaining the upper hand. But Mousasi quickly turned the tables. Gaining his leg back, he tossed Babalu to the mat from an upper body clinch, which marked the beginning of the end.
Mousasi immediately started a ground and pound assault, causing Babalu to move and end up against the cage, still on his back. Here, Mousasi found his range and unleashed a barrage of perfectly timed punches that put Babalu’s lights out and had referee John McCarthy stepping in to stop the fight.
“I wanted to fight stand-up, that was the game (plan). The game was to keep it stand-up and in top position,” said Mousasi after the fight.
Having won the Dream Middleweight Grand Prix in Japan, Mousasi has stated on numerous occasions that he can no longer make the 185-pound limit. It seems that moving up to 205 pounds suits him just fine.
“It feels good,” he stated. “There was some pressure because it was first time in U.S. I just wanted to perform well.”
Perform well he did, as now Gegard Mousasi is the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion.