Johnny Ebelin is the new Bellator middleweight champion.
In a stunning performance, the undefeated 30-year-old outmaneuvered Giggard Mousasi on his feet and on the floor to sweep the judges’ scorecards and win by unbalanced unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) on Friday night in the Bellator 282 main event. .
For Ebelin (12-0), the victory was not in doubt. The American middleweight came out with a point to prove, dropping Moses (49-8-2) in the opening round with a heavy punch of punches and nearly sending the legend home early.
Moses survived until the century, but the momentum was no longer in his favour. Eblen landed after removal and stuck to the mousse like glue to the mat. He’s also bundled Mousasi with a combined all-out attack whenever the action gets the feet back, leaving the two-time champion unable to get out of first gear.
In a notable twist of fate, it was a scene similar to what happened in April 2010, when one of Eblen’s head coaches at ATT – Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal – shocked the MMA world by using his wrestling to anger Moses and steal. Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Title by Decision.
“It feels right,” said Ebelin beaming during this whole week of Lawal’s celebration. “I didn’t feel like anything was bigger than me. I just love that I was in the right place the whole time. This is a valid feeling. I don’t know what to do right, but damn, that feels good.”
Ebelin is now 8-0 in the Bellator cage, while Musasi is down 7-2 on the climb.
In the co-main event of the night, Danny Sabatilo executed his words well, dominating Leandro Higo with a relentless wrestling attack to win by unanimous decision by one (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) and advance to a semi-final match against the champion Provisional Bantam Bellator Raufeon Stots weighs in at the ongoing 135-pound Grand Prix.
Sabatilo (13-1) scored takedowns in all five rounds and intimidated Hugo (21-5) with ground and pound pressure and constant exclusive pressure for extended periods of the match. Higo’s best moment came in round two, when he reversed Sabatello’s control of the ground using Kimura’s fist to take the reckless American’s back and plunge into the body triangle. Hugo Sabatilo hit elbows and punches for the rest of the round and even threatened to choke a naked man from behind, but Sabatilo survived and got back to work in the third round.
By the end, Higo was exhausted and Sabatilo was landing takedowns at will, supporting mountains of talk of trash that Hugo Road had thrown in the lead up, all while being booed by the crowd inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“I was told if you swore in my interview after the fight, I might be fined,” said Sabatilo, in a chorus of mockery. “So it’s a good thing I’m not giving it up! I just beat an absolute animal, and none of you are going to! You want to do something? Come here now and do something.”
Then Stots entered the cage and cut his own promo before engaging in a tense stare with his round opponent in the semi-finals.
“****** sucked! This *** was awful! This *** was distasteful! Stott rushed out in a huge round of applause.” Damned. Like, all you can do is wrestle, brother. My God. Hey, I want to congratulate Danny Sabatilo, for winning yourself a whooping ass.”
Elsewhere in brackets, it wasn’t easy, but Magomed Magomedov also hit his ticket to the semi-finals – and he did so by becoming the first man to finish by UFC veteran Enrique Barzola. In a fierce back-and-forth fight, Magomedov (19-2) eventually provided Przuola (18-6-2) by choking out the fourth round of the guillotine to advance in a match against the Patchi Mix.
Magomedov and Przola struggled tooth and nail throughout the competition, with Magomedov doing much of his best work on his feet, and Przola repeatedly looking forward to taking action on the ground. Przola secured all of his first five takedowns during the opening 10 minutes and reclaimed the Russian’s back several times, but Magomedov was always able to escape and injure the Peruvian with fierce left hands and spinning attacks.
As the rounds went on, Magomedov began deciphering Barzola’s timing in the takedown attempts, which eventually led to the ending sequence. It was a thing of beauty—in a smooth motion, Magomedov smashed into a slick guillotine choke trying to remove another and pressed with all his might to convince Barzola to take the first advantage of his career. The official end of the competition came at 1:27 of the fourth round.
“I knew he was going to wrestle with me. After the second round, I told my corners, ‘I’m going to pick him up now.’ I saw what happened,” Magomedov said.
In the opening main tag match, Brennan Ward continued his violent comeback tour with a second TKO round from Cassius Kayne.
Ward (16-6) competed for the second time since his five-year layoff due to suffering from a drug addiction, shooting Kane (12-8) with harsh punches and repeatedly dragging him to the rug throughout the opening frame. Ward continued that strong pace into the second round, rocking Kane with a series of powerful shots along the fence before persuading referee Mark Goddard to jump and stop the contest after his massive right hand landed on Kane’s body.
It was yet another example of Ward’s kill-or-kill methods. The 33-year-old Connecticut native hasn’t made it to the judges’ scorecards in his 18 career games with the Bellator.
“People say, ‘Oh, it’s on the main card, it’s on the main card. There are world champions on the bottom card,'” Ward said. This is what I do.”
Bellator 282’s full results can be seen below.
- Johnny Eblen Def. Giggard Mousasi by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- Danny Sabatilo def. Leandro Vig by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Magomed Magomedov def. Enrique Perzola by submission (guillotine choke) 1:27 of the fourth round
Brennan Ward Def. Cassius Cain via TKO (punches) at 1:11 of the second round
Initial card (Replay on MMA Fighting)