Bellator 282 results, highlights: Johnny Eblen upsets Gegard Mousasi to earn middleweight title

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Gegard Mousasi has spent his long career piling up wins and accomplishments, quietly establishing himself as one of the best middleweights in the history of the sport. On Friday night in the main event of Bellator 282 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, Mousasi ran into Johnny Eblen, a young undefeated fighter who brought a brilliant gameplan to the cage to take Mousasi’s middleweight championship.

Eblen wasted little time proving that he would present many problems of Mousasi, switching stances and whipping big overhand lefts and rights that found Mousasi’s chin repeatedly. One of those shots, a crushing right, hurt and dropped Mousasi in the opening round.

Eblen’s wrestling base also quickly became a factor as he was able to use takedowns and ground control in between his heavy punches. The threat of the takedown seemed to largely freeze Mousasi, causing the champion to never freely let his strikes go for fear of opening himself up to a takedown.

Mousasi largely leaned on his jab and leg kicks but nearly all meaningful action in the fight came from Eblen as he controlled nearly every moment of the fight, whether on the feet or on the ground.


Eblen’s confidence only grew as the rounds ticked by, allowing him to add a bit of showboating after landing late combinations.

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After the full five-round distance, Eblen was awarded the fight by clean scorecards of 50-45, awarding Eblen the Bellator middleweight championship in just his 12th career fight.

Mousasi suffered just his second loss since 2016, a stretch that has covered a five-fight winning streak to end his UFC career and seven wins in the Bellator cage, including two separate reigns as middleweight champion.

Sabatello grinds out Grand Prix win over Higo

Danny Sabatello may not have won himself any new fans in his bout with Leandro Higo, but he did do enough to advance to the semifinals of the Bantamweight World Grand Prix tournament. In all but the second round of the fight, Sabatello scored with long-range takedowns and held top position to grind out a win by unanimous decision, taking scores of 49-46 across the board.

The only danger for Sabatello came in the second round, when Higo was able to take his back and threaten with a few submission attempts and some elbows to the shoulder. Sabatello weathered that brief storm and went right back to the same diet of takedowns and top control as the crowd loudly voiced their disapproval of the lack of action in the bout.

Things did pick up briefly after the fight, with Sabatello swearing at the crowd before coming face to face with interim champion Raufeon Stots, who said Sabatello’s performance “sucked” before telling his semifinal opponent, “Congratulations, you just won yourself an ass whoppin’.”

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Magomedov submits Barzola to advance in Grand Prix

The first Grand Prix bout of the night was a hard-fought clash between Magomed Magomedov and Enrique Barzola. Barzola proved to be a quality fighter as he mixed it up with Magomedov on the feet and the ground, giving as good as he got for the first three rounds of the fight. At the end of the second round, a Magomedov punch appeared to bother Barzola’s left eye. Still, Barzola fought on, with both men jawing back-and-forth throughout. The end came at the 1:27 mark of Round 4 when Barzola looked to continue his strategy of shooting occasional takedowns. Magomedov was able to stuff the initial attempt before transitioning to a guillotine choke as Barzola pushed to continue the takedown attempt.

Magomedov moves on to the semifinals of the tournament where he’ll face Patchy Mix in a battle of men who have spent plenty of time in the gym together. Mix took a five-round decision over former champion Kyoji Horiguchi in a quarterfinal bout in April.

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