Johnny Eblen stunned Gegard Mousasi in the main event of Bellator 282 as he upset the odds, and the defending champion, to capture the Bellator middleweight title at Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday night.
Eblen claimed a shutout win on the scorecards after a dominant five-round display to earn scores of 50-45 from all three judges at cageside as he extended his perfect professional record to 12-0.
“It sounds like what it’s supposed to sound like,” said Eblen after being declared champion.
“During this whole week, I knew this was gonna happen. I had doubts, but I worked through them. Now, I’m a champion.
“The only emotion I felt was when I saw my mom after I won the belt. She hates this sport; she hates that I fight. Yet, she traveled across the country to watch this fight.
“When I was in the cage, I was more excited, like, ‘Damn, I took this from a legend.’ It sounds right.”
Mousasi was a big favourite with the sportsbooks ahead of their main event title fight in Uncasville, Connecticut, but Eblen headed into the bout with bulletproof confidence as he dominated the Dutch legend to capture the title.
“I expected it,” said the newly-crowned champion.
“I know a lot of haters and a lot of doubters doubted me and thought I would be finished. The way I fought, that’s the way I spar. That’s a normal Thursday sparring session. It was just another Thursday sparring session.
“I hurt him, and I f**king dominated the wrestling and dominated the grappling. It just shuts up the haters and shuts up the doubters. There’s no question I’m the best middleweight in the world.
“He didn’t hit that hard. He had a couple stiff jabs. He landed a good calf kick. But no, I hit way harder than him.”
“I’m pretty happy I’m the champion of Bellator, and I plan to keep it that way.”
The co-main event saw Danny Sabatello claim a dominant decision victory over Brazilian bantamweight contender Leandro Higo to position himself as a serious contender for a shot at the 135-pound title.
Sabatello earned scores of 49-46 from all three judges as he progressed to the semi-finals of the Bellator bantamweight grand prix, while Russian contender Magomed Magomedov also picked up a tournament win with a guillotine choke finish of Enrique Barzola.
Bellator 282: Official Results
- Johnny Eblen def. Gegard Mousasi via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- Danny Sabatello def. Leandro Higo via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
- Magomed Magomedov def. Enrique Barzola via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 4, 1:27
- Brennan Ward def. Kassius Kayne via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:11
- Killys Mota def. Dan Moret via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Lucas Brennan def. Johnny Soto via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:34
- Alexander Shabliy def. Brent Primus via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 1:22
- Cat Zingano def. Pam Sorenson via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-27, 29-27)
- Anatoly Tokov def. Muhammad Abdullah via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:28
- Sabah Homasi def. Maycon Mendonca via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:58
- Ilara Joanne def. Alejandra Lara via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)
- James Gonzalez def. Cody Law via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-26)
- Aaron Jeffrey def. Fabio Aguiar via TKO (knee and punches) – Round 2, 3:30
- Mandel Nallo def. Bryce Logan via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 1:07
Photo credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA