Having both lost to former UFC champion Lyoto Machida in their most recent fights, Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi were both looking to rebound and prove that they belong in the middleweight championship conversation when they met in the UFC Fight Night 41 main event at O2 World in Berlin on Saturday.
It was Mousasi, a relatively lesser-known fighter to many of the UFC faithful, that showed why he is one of the most respected fighters in the world by his peers that has yet to really make a name for himself in the Octagon.
While Munoz looked to establish his wrestling dominance early, Mousasi was ready for him at every turn.
Munoz’s first shot ended with Mousasi twisting him out of position and returning the fight to the feet. Mousasi mostly sprawled out Munoz’s later attempts to take him down, all the while doing damage with vicious elbows to the side of the head and barrages of punches.
Just when it looked like Munoz might be able to use a body-lock takedown to shift the momentum, Mousasi went down but scrambled out and onto Munoz’s back, where he almost immediately locked in a rear naked choke that brought the fight to an end, but may have launched Mousasi into the UFC limelight.
Now 2-1 in the Octagon, Mousasi is under no misconception that he’ll immediately move into title contention. He does believe that he’ll get a big name for his next opponent, so he can keep taking step towards the title.
“I think I’m gonna get a winner (like) Luke Rockhold or (Tim) Kennedy to get a little bit closer to a title shot,” he said after the fight. “I’m not gonna call anybody out, but whoever gets me a closer to a title shot, I’m ready.”