Bellator MMA is set to return to the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland on February 25. for an event featuring an undisputed middleweight title clash between champion, Gegard ‘The Dreamcatcher’ Mousasi, and undefeated challenger, Austin ‘The Gentleman’ Vanderford in the night’s headlining slot.
Undefeated in his last three straight outings, Dutch veteran, Mousasi successfully defended his middleweight crown back in August at Bellator 264 in Uncasville, Connecticut, stopping John Salter with third round ground strikes.
For Vanderford, the undefeated grappling ace improved to 11-0 back in May at Bellator 259 — scoring a unanimous decision victory over Team Renagade BJJ & MMA standout, Fabian Edwards. Irish journalist, Peter Carroll was first to suggest a February return for the organization, with MMA Junkie reporters, Nolan King, Farah Hannoun, and John Morgan first to report the pairing of Mousasi and Vanderford as well as the event’s date.
Crowning himself as the undisputed Bellator middleweight champion for the second time in his promotional tenure back in October of last year at Bellator 250, Mousasi defeated former welterweight champion, Douglas Lima in a unanimous decision performance.
Throughout his four year stint with the Scott Coker-led promotional, Mousasi previously lifted middleweight spoils with a knockout win over Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 200, before successfully defending against Rory MacDonald at Bellator 206. In other promotional wins, the 36-year-old Iran-born finisher has defeated Alexander Shlemenko, and former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida to go along with his aforenoted résumé.
31-year-old Alaska-born contender, Vanderford enters his first title tilt under the promotion’s banner, and is currently in the midst of a five-fight winning run since singing for Bellator back in late 2018. The former Dana White’s Contender Series feature managed to earn his title shot against Mousasi with his aforenoted win over Edwards, which followed a quartet of victories opposite Cory Jones, Joseph Creer, Grachik Bozinyan, and Vinicius de Jesus.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.