Bellator 282 Mousasi vs Eblen: The Line Up

Credit: Severe MMA

Main Card

Middleweight World Championship Main Event: C-Gegard Mousasi (49-7-2) vs. #1-Johnny Eblen (11-0)

Gegard Mousasi will look to make the third defense of his middleweight world championship when he faces off against Johnny Eblen. Mousasi is widely regarded as one of the best fighters outside of the UFC, currently sitting at #3 in Bellator’s pound for pound rankings. His most recent defense was a first round TKO victory over Austin Vanderford at Bellator 275 in Dublin. Mousasi is a former world champion in DREAM (light heavyweight and middleweight), Cage Warriors, and Strikeforce. He was also an amateur boxing champion in the Netherlands, and holds an undefeated record in kickboxing. Some of his most notable wins throughout his 19 year career are over Mark Hunt, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, and Chris Weidman. Johnny Eblen is primed to take his first shot at Bellator undisputed gold less than five years into his pro career. Eblen is an undefeated wrestler who has rounded out his game with more advanced striking. He made it to the NCAA championships during his senior campaign, then transitioned to mixed martial arts the following year. The American Top team product clinched this title shot with a decision victory over John Salter at Bellator 276. He comes into this matchup undefeated through 11 fights.

Bantamweight World Grand Prix: #6-Leandro Higo (21-5) vs. #9-Danny Sabatello (12-1)

The bantamweight world grand prix continues with a highly anticipated grudge match between Leandro Higo and Danny Sabatello. Higo has been with the promotion since 2017, posting a 4-3 record in that time. He has been fighting professionally for 16 years and is currently the sixth ranked fighter in the Bellator bantamweight division, which earned him a first round bye in this tournament. Leandro is also a proud Brazilian who trains with the Pitbull brothers and at Fight Ready MMA. He is currently riding the momentum of a three fight winning streak heading into this matchup. Danny Sabatello is on a 6 fight winning streak, unbeaten since 2019. “The Italian Gangster” turned plenty of heads after his most recent victory over Jornel Lugo by cutting a spirited promo towards Higo in the post-fight interview. Sabatello is known for a pressure heavy wrestling style with devastating ground and pound. Danny is another American Top Team product, giving ATT head coach Mike Brown a doubleheader assignment on Friday night between the main and co-main event. 

 Bantamweight World Grand Prix: #4-Magomed Magomedov (18-2) vs. #10-Enrique Barzola (18-5-2)

The first of two bantamweight world grand prix fights on this card takes place with Magomed Magomedov squaring off against Enrique Barzola. Magomedov Magomedov is coming off of his first loss since 2017, dropping a decision to current interim champion Raufeon Stots. He is also the only person other than Aljamain Sterling to defeat Petr Yan, which happened back in 2016 (Yan avenged this loss a year later). “Tiger” trains out of DagFighter Gym, which is also home to Omari Akhmedov and the recently retired Zabit Magomedsharipov. Magomed is a strike-first fighter that also holds a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. Enrique Barzola is looking to make a big statement with a win over Magomedov. The AKA fighter has fought at featherweight for much of his career, which leads him to believe he has a notable size advantage. He is on a two fight winning streak, making him undefeated since joining Bellator at the start of this year. You may remember Barzola from his five year stint in the UFC, beginning with a TUF Latin America campaign and ending with a draw to Rani Yahya in 2020.

Welterweight Bout: Brennan Ward (15-6) vs. Kassius Kayne (12-7)

Local fan favorite Brennan Ward is back for the second time this year to face Kassius Kayne. “Irish” Brennan Ward is returning off the heels of a second round knockout earlier this year, which was his first fight since 2017. Ward is consistently in exciting, boxing-heavy fights, which is why he is so beloved by the Connecticut faithful. He has been fighting professionally for 14 years, and he has been with Bellator since 2012, going 10-6 with the promotion in that time frame. Kassius Kayne will be making his promotional debut in this fight. He is just three months removed from a decision win in a regional Nebraska promotion, which was his first win since 2019. “Killa” is a 9 year fight veteran, who also has a professional boxing bout under his belt in which he lost via first round knockout.

Preliminary Card

Lightweight Bout: #2-Brent Primus (11-2) vs. #8-Alexander Shabliy (21-3)

Top lightweights Brent Primus and Alexander Shabily will headline the preliminary card. Brent Primus is a jiu-jitsu fighter who has been with Bellator since 2013, going 9-2 over that stretch. He is well known for taking the lightweight belt from Michael Chandler in 2017 (doctor stoppage), then losing to Chandler in the rematch the following year. His most recent fight was a decision victory over Benson Henderson at Bellator 268. Alexander Shabily is a surging Russian 29 year-old on a six fight winning streak. “Peresvet” has finished 17 of his 21 victories, and is coming off of a decision win over Bobby King at Bellator 272. Shabliy has been chasing this matchup with Primus since he entered Bellator in 2021, as he publicly called for this fight in his Bellator 259 post-fight interview.

Featherweight Bout: #2-Cat Zingano (12-4) vs. #6-Pam Sorenson (9-4)

Cat Zingano returns to the Bellator cage to face sixth-ranked Pam Sorenson. Zingano has been a mainstay of women’s MMA since her debut in 2008. She’s fought a plethora of greats through her career, such as Amanda Nunes, Ronda Rousey, Meisha Tate, and Juliana Pena. “Alpha” is on a two fight winning streak since joining Bellator in 2020, most recently finishing Olivia Parker with an arm bar in the first round at Bellator 256. Pam Sorenson most recently dropped a decision to Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 271, ending a two fight winning streak for her. She is now 1-1 since joining Bellator last year. This fight was originally scheduled for Bellator 276, until Zingano was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Middleweight Bout: #5-Anatoly Tokov (30-2) vs. Muhammed Abdullah (11-5, 1 NC)

Anatoly Tokov will take on Muhammed Abdullah in a middleweight bout. Anatoly is a combat sambo style fighter on a red hot six fight winning streak, and has remained undefeated since joining Bellator in 2017. He has been fighting for almost 3 years, and has not been stopped since 2011. Tokov has finished 23 of his 30 victories, mostly by knockout. Muhammed Abdullah will be making his Bellator debut at the age of 36. He is perhaps most known for his boxing match against Viddal Riley of Youtube-boxing fame, in which he lost a unanimous decision. Muhammed won his most recent bout via decision back in February, which was his first MMA match since 2018. 

Welterweight Bout: #10-Sabah Homasi (16-10) vs. Maycon Mendonca (11-5)

Sabah Homasi will face off against Maycon Mendonca in a welterweight bout. Sabah is the most recent fighter to defeat the aforementioned Muhammed Abdullah back in 2018. He signed with Bellator right after, and scored a 17 second knockout in his debut with the promotion. Since then, he has gone 4-2, with his losses coming to Paul Daley and Andrey Koreshkov. “The Sleek Sheik” also represents American Top Team. Maycon Mendonca lost his most recent fight to Jaleel Willis at Bellator 259. That loss snapped a five fight winning streak for him, all under the LFA promotion. That run included a submission win over main card fighter Kassisus Kayne. Both Homassi and Mendonca faced Jaleel Willis in their most recent bouts.

Flyweight Bout: #5-Alejandra Lara (9-5) vs. Ilara Joanne (9-6)

Fifth-ranked Alejandra Lara will take on Ilara Joanne in a flyweight bout. Lara is a Columbian fighter on a two fight losing streak who has been with Bellator since 2017. She has finished 7 of her 9 victories and is 3-4 under the Bellator banner. A victory here would mark her first since 2019. Ilara Joanne is a Brazilian fighter who trains alongside the Pitbull Brothers and co-main eventer Leandro Higo. Since securing a knee bar finish in her debut at Bellator 231 over Bec Rawlings, she has gone 0-2. Similar to her opponent, Ilara has also finished 7 of her 9 victories.

Featherweight Bout: #9-Cody Law (6-0) vs. James Gonzalez (8-5)

Cody Law will return to the Bellator cage to face off against James Gonzalez. Law is an undefeated wrestler fighting out of American Top Team. He has only fought for Bellator professionally and has finished his last three wins in the first round. Cody is fresh off of a first round KO over James Addock at Bellator 276, who was a last minute replacement for Johnny Soto. James Gonzalez will be making his Bellator debut on this card. He is currently trained by fabled coaches Matt Serra and Ray Longo at Longo and Weidman MMA. His last fight was a split decision loss at Ring of Combat 5, which snapped a two fight winning streak for him. Gonzalez came up on the New York regional scene and has also competed for Cage Fury FC.

Lightweight Bout: #9-Dan Moret (15-7) vs. Killys Mota (12-3)

Dan Moret is back in action at the Mohegan Sun Arena for a lightweight bout against Killys Mota. Moret’s last fight was a barn burner against Spike Carlyle at Bellator 272 that he lost by submission. He had a three fight stretch in the UFC that saw him go winless against Gilbert Burns, Alex White and Jared Gordon. “The Hitman” has finished 10 of his 15 victories, with 8 of those coming by way of submission. Killys Mota also most recently fought at Bellator 272, dropping a split decision to Mike Hamel. The Brazilian will enjoy home field advantage as he currently trains out of Danbury, Connecticut at Teixeira MMA & Fitness. Mota has finished 10 of his 12 wins, and has not secured a victory since finishing Mandel Nallo with leg kicks back in 2019.

Featherweight Bout: Lucas Brennan (6-0) vs. Johnny Soto (4-2)

Undefeated prospect Lucas Brennan will face Johnny Soto in a featherweight bout. As an undefeated amateur, Lucas Brennan signed with Bellator in 2019 and has won all six of his fights since then. He has finished his last two fights in the first round, most recently by assassin choke at Bellator 273. Four of his victories have been by submission and he has only been to the judge’s scorecards once as a professional. Lucas is also only three years into his career and is 22 years old. Johnny Soto is 1-1 since joining Bellator in 2021, dropping his last fight at Bellator 262. He finished all four of his fights as an amatuer and has finished three of his four professional wins. In his Bellator debut, he took Weber Almedia’s undefeated record away from him, and he’ll look to do the same here against Lucas Brennan.

Middleweight Bout: Fabio Aguiar (18-2) vs. Aaron Jeffery (11-3)

Fabio Aguiar will take on Aaron Jeffery in a middleweight bout. Fabio is a ten year veteran of the fight game on a one fight winning streak. His lone Bellator loss ended a nine fight winning streak that spanned six years. The Brazilian won a split decision in his most recent fight at Bellator 265, which was his first victory since 2018. Aaron Jeffery is a Canadian training out of Niagara Falls, Ontario. He has finished 8 of his 11 wins, with 7 coming by way of knockout. He has lost on Dana White’s Contender Series twice, most notably to Brendan Allen in 2019. This fight will mark his first with Bellator.

Lightweight Bout: Mandel Nallo (8-2, 1 NC) vs. Bryce Logan (12-6)

Mandel Nallo will open up the preliminary card when he faces off against Bryce Logan. Mandel broke into Bellator in 2017 on a five fight winning streak, and he capitalized on his debut with an 18 second knockout. He is 3-2 with 1 no contest since joining Bellator, losing his undefeated record to Killys Mota at Bellator 231. “Rat Garbage” has finished all 8 of his victories, 4 by knockout and 4 by submission. Bryce Logan is a South Dakotan wrestler on a two fight losing streak. He has lost all three of his fights within Bellator, two of which have been by split decision. Before starting his current stint with Bellator in 2020, Logan was on a three fight winning streak in LFA, including a vacant lightweight title victory in 2020. Bryce also trains out of Fight Ready MMA.

Massachusetts native currently writing for Severe MMA. Former writer for Neutral Zone LLC. Follow me on Twitter @lander_theo, LinkedIn and Youtube @ Theo Lander for articles and event coverage.

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