Gegard Mousasi owns one of the sport’s most unique resumes.
The former Dream, Strikeforce, Cage Warriors Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA titleholder debuted as a 17-year-old in April 2003, posted a 28-2-1 record through his first 31 appearances and excelled in multiple weight classes. Mousasi has fought in 12 different countries during his stellar 55-fight career and established a reputation as something of a mercenary while competing in virtually every major promotion on the planet, including Pride Fighting Championships and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A potent and polished mixed martial artist, he has delivered 38 of his 46 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
As Mousasi awaits the resumption of Bellator’s 2020 campaign, a look at a few of the rivalries that brought him to the masses:
“Jacare” was the better man in the sequel. The former Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist submitted Mousasi with a third-round guillotine choke in the UFC Fight Night 50 headliner on Sept. 5, 2014 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Mousasi conceded defeat 4:30 into Round 3, as he tapped out for the first time in more than eight years. Souza—who had been knocked out by a Mousasi upkick under the Dream banner in September 2008—dominated the rematch from start to finish. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt tuned up his punches at opportune times and executed takedowns in all three rounds, suffocating Mousasi with oppressive top control. Souza scored with a trip takedown with roughly 90 seconds left in the third frame, caught the choke with Mousasi in a seated position, closed guard and secured the finish.
“The Dreamcatcher” made sure lightning did not strike twice for Hall, as he avenged a September 2015 loss to the former Ring of Combat champion and did so in systematic fashion. Mousasi dispatched “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 finalist with first-round punches in their UFC Fight Night 99 main event on Nov. 19, 2016 at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Hall wilted 4:37 into Round 1. Mousasi left nothing to chance. He backed up Hall with a stinging jab, steered clear of his spinning attacks and executed a takedown with a little less than 50 seconds remaining in the first round. He then pinned Hall at the base of the cage and controlled his near-side leg and far-side wrist before cutting loose with a burst of right hands that prompted referee Marc Goddard to act.
Mousasi took care of business and did so with clinical precision, as he stopped Rafael Carvalho with first-round punches to capture the undisputed middleweight championship in the Bellator 200 headliner on May 25, 2018 at the SSE Arena in London. Carvalho succumbed to blows 3:35 into Round 1. The loss was his first since Dec. 17, 2011 and closed the book on a 15-fight winning streak. Mousasi made it look easy, like hot-knife-through-butter easy. He executed multiple takedowns, softened Carvalho with ground-and-pound and climbed to full mount. Unable to escape, the Brazilian surrendered his back and covered up, as Mousasi unleashed right hands until the job was finished.