Bellator 264 Preview: Who will walk away middleweight champion?

Bellator Scott Coker
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: President of Bellator Scott Coker speaks onstage during the Bellator-DAZN announcement press conference on June 26, 2018 at Viacom in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Bellator MMA)

Tonight, Bellator 264 takes place and the middleweight championship is on the line. One of the best and most underrated middleweights in the world, Gegard Mousasi (47-7-2) is back to defend his title against John Salter (18-4).

Gegard Mousasi is one of the rare instances where a fighter left the UFC for Bellator on a high note. Mousasi signed with Bellator after leaving the UFC on a five-fight win streak including a TKO victory over Chris Weidman.

Since coming over to Bellator, Mousasi has gone 5-1 with the lone loss coming against Rafael Lovato Jr by Split Decision. Since that loss where Mousasi lost his middleweight crown, he’s bounced back with wins over Lyoto Machida and Douglas Lima.

The man who will try to become Bellator middleweight champion tonight is John Salter. Salter will enter the cage on a three-fight win streak. The last time we saw him was at Bellator 244 when he won by third round arm triangle over Andrew Kapel.

Bellator 264 Prediction

When you look at this fight it’s all going to come down to the takedown. There is really no secret to John Salter’s game plan this evening. He’s going to try to come forward with pressure and he’s going to try and take down Gegard Mousasi.

That is the one path to victory for Salter. Salter has the ground skills to control Mousasi if he’s able to get him down. That said, getting Gegard Mousasi down is not going to be an easy task.

Mousasi is very good at keeping his range and he possesses tremendous takedown defense. There’s a reason why the Bellator middleweight champion has had the success he’s had over the course of his career.

In the early rounds, I find it hard to believe that Salter can get Mousasi down. I believe Mousasi is going to pull out ahead easily in the first three rounds. Perhaps if he gets tired, Salter can land some takedowns in the later rounds, but I don’t see it being enough tonight.

Prediction: Gegard Mousasi by Unanimous Decision

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