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After a slight delay, Rafael Lovato Jr. will indeed get his middleweight title fight against Gegard Mousasi at Bellator London.
The two were expected to fight back in January, but the champion had to pull out of the fight due to an injury. Then, many believed Lyoto Machida would pass Lovato Jr. for the title shot, including the man himself.
“A little bit, yeah. There were about two and a half months where things were in limbo. I got offered other fights but I didn’t want to take them because I didn’t want to hurt my chances on getting the title shot,” Lovato Jr. told Sherdog.com. “It was a difficult time as I was still training. I wasn’t sure what injury he had and how long he needed so I was staying ready. I got an idea it would be probably looking like the summer. So, instead of taking another fight I did some grappling matches to stay sharp. In March I got the word for this fight. It all worked about but there was a time I thought they may go in a different direction.”
Now that the fight is just days away, Lovato Jr. is confident in his skills to hand Mousasi a loss and become Bellator’s middleweight champion. He knows how good he is, and says being himself will be enough.
“I think just being my best is going to be enough. Just mix everything up well,” he explained. “He is very complete, and I feel like I have an area where I can have the advantage and keep things close. Just not do anything stupid and capitalize on his mistakes. I don’t have a lot of fights, but I do have experience in competition. It will help me a lot and keep me calm. I see myself getting the finish, 100 percent.”
Lovato knows getting the fight down to the ground is key to him leaving London with the belt.
“I would be silly if I said I want to keep the fight on the feet the whole time and just have a kickboxing match. The point is to mix it all up the best I can,” Lovato Jr. said. “For sure, at some point, I’ll be looking for the takedown. He may try to take me down. On the ground is where I will have the biggest advantage. I’d be stupid to not take advantage of that.”