Gegard Mousasi rose to prominence fighting for Pride and Dream in Japan, but proved once again on Saturday night at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine in Oklahoma City, Okla., that he is a light heavyweight force to be reckoned with.
Unless the sky falls down, Mousasi, after handily defeating UFC veteran Mike Kyle, should be making his way to the Octagon for his next fight.
He had little trouble with Kyle on Saturday night.
Both men spent the early minutes of the fight testing each other out on the feet, but it didn’t take long for Mousasi to clinch and take Kyle to the mat.
Working from inside Kyle’s full guard, Mousasi opened up his ground and pound attack. Kyle turned to try and get away from the punishment, but giving up his back in doing so, Mousasi took full advantage.
Mousasi kept punching for a time, but then swiftly sank a rear naked choke that Kyle could not escape.
He tapped out, but it took the referee a little longer than it should have to call a halt to the bout; apparently he didn’t see the initial tapout. Mousasi didn’t release the hold until the referee eventually stepped in, stopping the fight just over four minutes into the first round.
Mousasi’s motivation has been questioned in the past, but he showed a renewed vigor and well roundedness on Saturday night that he says is indicative of his newfound commitment to proper training.
“I got more professional, I think,” he said after the fight. “I got out of my comfort zone and stepped up my training.”
Mousasi’s renewed sense of professionalism couldn’t have come at a better time, as he’ll soon be stepping into the Octagon across from the top 205-pound fighters in the world.