Gegard Mousasi made his Bellator debut on Friday night, picking up a controversial unanimous decision victory over former Middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko. The judges scored the contest 29-28 across the board for Mousasi. Fightful had the bout 29-28 for Shlemenko.
Mousasi got off to a strong start, scoring multiple takedowns and dominating position for the majority of the first round. At one point, Mousasi had Shlemenko’s back and looked to finish with a rear naked choked, but Shlemenko managed to fight out.
The tides turned into the second round. Shlemenko was able to landed his patented spinning offense while avoiding the takedowns of Mousasi. However, “Storm” did find himself on the ground with his opponent once again on his back to end the round. That takedown and position likely swayed the judges in giving the round to Mousasi.
The third round saw the former Bellator champ pick apart Mousasi, who looked to be running on fumes. It didn’t help that Gegard’s right eye was swollen shut following an overhand left by Shlemenko in the first round. After the bout, Mousasi was taken to the hospital and it’s believed that he suffered a broken orbital bone.
The crow in Connecticut was none too pleased with the decision, booing Mousasi as he conducted his in-cage interview. Mousasi didn’t have much to say following the victory, just that there was a lot of pressure on him coming into this fight.
Shlemenko was shocked and upset when the decision was announced, a sign that he believed he did enough to pick up the victory.
With this victory, Mousasi will likely face the winner of the upcoming Middleweight title bout between champion Rafael Carvalho and challenger Alessio Sakara.
You can read Fightful's full coverage of Bellator 185 right here.