Bellator 296: Mousasi vs. Edwards Main Event Predictions
BELLATOR 296: MOUSASI VS. EDWARDS MAIN EVENT PREDICTIONS – Bellator is in Paris, France, Friday at the Accor Arena for Bellator 296.
Before the main event, Brent Primus and Mansour Barnaoui will fight to advance in the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix and face the champion, Usman Nurmagomedov.
Afterward, Gegard Mousasi and Fabian Edwards will enter the cage as the number one and two-ranked middleweight contenders.
The winner will likely face Johnny Eblen to challenge for the middleweight title. The prelims begin at noon ET, and the main card starts at 4 p.m. ET on Showtime.
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Gegard Mousasi is as experienced as it gets in MMA. His professional record is 49-8-2, and he has earned belts in multiple promotions. He started fighting professionally in 2003 and has fought some of the biggest names in the sport. Nearing the end of his career, he seems to have found a home in Bellator’s promotion.
In his last fight, he lost the belt via a decision to the current middleweight champion, Johnny Eblen. The scorecards read 50-45 in favor of Eblen as he dominated the fight using his wrestling. At 37 years old, he likely has less than five fights left before he retires and wants to challenge for the title again. With a win over Fabian Edwards, he can get another shot to redeem himself against Eblen.
Mousasi had trouble with Eblen’s speed and ability to transition from wrestling to striking. He is usually the better wrestler but faced adversity against Eblen. Mousasi is not to be underestimated, though, as he is still an elite fighter despite growing older.
Fabian Edwards is the younger brother of the current UFC Welterweight Champion, Leon Edwards. He is 11-2 as a professional fighter and 9-0 as an amateur. Edwards is 30-years-old and entering the prime of his career. He trains with his brother and Team Renegade in England.
Although he fights in a weight class above Leon, Fabian is getting the best looks possible in training, which will undoubtedly allow him to evolve a lot between fights.
He is on a two-fight winning streak with wins over Charlie Ward and Lyoto Machida, who was well past his prime.
Before those victories, he was on a two-fight losing streak with losses to Austin Vanderford and Costello van Steenis. Vanderford exploited a slight weakness in Edwards’ game, which is wrestling. He did not land a lot of offense when he got Edwards to the ground, but he controlled him there.
Mousasi is the favorite at -240 on the moneyline, and Edwards is at +200. The over 4.5 rounds are -130, and the under is +105, so the oddsmakers think this fight will go the distance.
Both men tend to fight to the level of their competition, which is good and bad depending on the opponent. However, Mousasi has a clear advantage in grappling in this fight. Fabian is not the easiest person to get to the mat, but Mousasi can do it. If it gets there, Mousasi will deploy his tremendous ground and pound and offensive jiu-jitsu, which he has used to finish 12 fights, but none in Bellator.
Fabian is a live underdog in this fight. Mousasi is nearing that age when fighters tend to slow down, and the damage accumulated catches up to them. It will be Mousasi’s 60th professional fight, which has taken a toll on his body.
Edwards is relatively young and young as a fighter. He started as an amateur in 2015 and only has 22 total fights. He has enough experience to have good fighting intelligence but not enough appearances that have damaged his body.
Based on the odds, Edwards would be the best value bet but may not be the right side. At +200, Edwards is worth the risk for the younger fighter to get the job done.