Gegard Mousasi will look to defend his middleweight title for a third time when he faces undefeated challenger Johnny Eblen in the main event of Bellator 282 on Friday.
Bellator returns from a six-week layoff on Friday night with a stacked 14-fight card. The main event of Bellator 282 features Gegard Mousasi defending his middleweight belt against undefeated challenger Johnny Eblen.
Gegard Mousasi Bellator 282 Odds
Mousasi (49-7-2) is the No. 3 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in Bellator. He is a former DREAM light heavyweight and middleweight champion, a former Cage Warriors World middleweight champion and a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion. Mousasi also spent time in the UFC, compiling a 9-2 record in the Octagon. He ended his time in the UFC on a five-fight win streak and was the No. 4 ranked middleweight fighter at the time of his departure, but he never received a title shot.
“The Dream Catcher” has fought eight times in the Bellator promotion, losing just once. He’s riding a four-fight win streak that includes winning the middleweight championship by unanimous decision against Douglas Lima. Mousasi followed that up with a pair of TKO wins in title defences against John Salter (third-round) and Austin Vanderford (first-round).
The 36-year-old Mousasi has a huge edge in experience as he’s been fighting some of the best fighters in the best MMA promotions for almost 20 years. That experience has evolved Mousasi into an unpredictable fighter who is capable of beating you a multitude of ways. He’s calm and has the ability to break down opponents both physically and mentally.
Mousasi’s defensive skills keep him fairly safe standing up. His best strategy is to keep this fight standing up and wear Eblen down. His opponent is an experienced wrestler and is more comfortable on the ground. This will likely line up a lot like the Vanderford fight. Vanderford was also undefeated and taking a big step up in competition. Mousasi kept his distance against Vanderford, denied takedowns and finished the fight in the first round. That is likely the same game plan against Eblen.
Johnny Eblen Bellator 282 Odds
Eblen (11-0 MMA record) has never lost in his professional career. He turned professional in 2017, fighting four times in Shamrock FC, before joining Bellator. Eblen has compiled a 7-0 record since his Bellator debut in March 2019, taking down the likes of Salter, Collin Huckbody and Travis Davis. He’s a former NCAA Division I wrestler, but his lack of experience leaves a lot of question marks against a veteran fighter like Mousasi.
“The Human Cheat Code” has won five of seven Bellator fights by unanimous decision and two by first-round knockout. Eblen has proven knockout power that could be dangerous for Mousasi, but he’ll need to figure out a way to break through the champion’s defences.
The 30-year-old Eblen will want to get this fight to the ground where he holds the upper hand. To do that, he’ll need to close the distance quickly. Mousasi struggles against elite wrestlers, so it’s crucial Eblen gets him on his back. Eblen doesn’t have the proven track record that Mousasi has, but an undefeated record in 11 career fights does say something about his skill.
Bellator 282 Prediction: Mousasi vs. Eblen
This fight really is going to come down to experience. Mousasi is a seasoned veteran and a much tougher opponent than Eblen has ever seen. Mousasi wins by second-round KO/TKO.