Gegard Mousasi looked as good at UFC 204 on Saturday night as he has since he entered the Octagon more than three years ago. He executed his game plan to perfection in defeating the legendary Vitor Belfort in Manchester, England.
Belfort entered the fight trying to get back on track after having lost two of his three most recent fights. Mousasi strode into the Octagon on the heels of back-to-back victories, looking to use Belfort to help improve his No. 9 middleweight ranking, and he likely did just that.
Mousasi immediately took control of the fight, pressing forward on Belfort, firing off short combinations and landing the occasional low kick. For his part, Belfort was content mostly to sit back and tried to counter Mousasi throughout the opening round.
In the second frame, Mousasi followed much the same strategy as the first, where he easily outscored Belfort. A minor tweak was that he began working his jab more effectively.
A little over a minute into round two, following a failed takedown attempt, Mousasi landed a right head kick that rocked Belfort, sending him backward.
Mousasi then did his best Belfort impersonation, swarming “The Phenom” and pummeling him with a flurry of punches. Belfort covered up along the fence, but Mousasi grabbed him and tossed him to the canvas.
As soon as they hit the mat, Mousasi continued his punching onslaught before taking full mount. Belfort tried to whether the storm, but eventually turned to his side, as Mousasi’s punches were relentless.
The referee stepped in to save Belfort 2:43 into round two, Mousasi earning the victory via TKO stoppage with a flawless performance.
“He’s a legend. Fighting him is an honor,” said Mousasi after the fight. “I like Vitor a lot. He’s a nice guy besides being a great athlete.”
As for what comes next for Mousasi, he wants to continue fighting top contenders. All of the Top 5 middleweights have bouts scheduled, and Mousasi would be happy to fight any of the winners, but also has his sights set on another legend.
“It all makes sense to me,” Mousasi responded when asked if he wanted one of the Top 5 pairing winners, but added, “Anderson Silva is also a great fight for me, but I have to fight whoever they give me.”