Two of Bellator MMA’s premier pound-for-pound competitors will determine the fate of the organization’s vacant middleweight championship when Gegard Mousasi confronts reigning welterweight titlist Douglas Lima in the Bellator 250 headliner on Thursday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The 185-pound throne was left unoccupied when the unbeaten Rafael Lovato Jr. was forced to put his career on hold and relinquish his championship after being diagnosed with brain condition known as cerebral cavernoma.
Mousasi has rattled off nine wins across his past 10 appearances. The former Bellator, Dream, Strikeforce and Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder has not fought since he eked out a split decision over Lyoto Machida at Bellator 228 on Sept. 28, 2019. Lima, meanwhile, finds himself on a three-fight winning streak. He last fought at Bellator 232, where he took a unanimous decision from Rory MacDonald and reclaimed the undisputed welterweight championship on Oct. 26, 2019.
As Mousasi and Lima approach their ballyhooed superfight, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
35: Years of age for Mousasi, who was born in Tehran, Iran, on Aug. 1, 1985.
12: Mousasi wins by submission, accounting for 26% of his career total (46). His methods of choice: six rear-naked chokes, two triangle chokes, one guillotine choke, one arm-triangle choke, one armbar and one straight armbar. Mousasi also has 26 victories by knockout or technical knockout.
1: Knockout loss on the Mousasi ledger. He was victimized by a flying knee and follow-up punches from Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night 75 on Sept. 26, 2015. Mousasi exacted his revenge a little more than a year later, when he punched out “The Ultimate Fighter 17” finalist and former Ring of Combat champion inside one round.
2: Draws on the Mousasi resume. He battled to a stalemate with Gilson Ferreira at a regional event in Holland in November 2003 and did the same with Keith Jardine under the Strikeforce banner in April 2011.
163: Victories between the seven men—Hall, Rafael Lovato Jr., Ronaldo Souza, Lyoto Machida, Muhammed Lawal, Akihiro Gono and Petras Markevicius—who have beaten Mousasi.
32: Years of age for Douglas Lima, who was born in Goiania, Brazil, on Jan. 5, 1988.
.892: Winning percentage for Lima after he suffered back-to-back defeats to Charles Blanchard and Eric Dahlberg in 2009. He has gone 25-3 in 28 subsequent appearances, losing only to the aforementioned MacDonald, Ben Askren and Andrey Koreshkov. Lima has since avenged two of those setbacks, besting Koreshkov and MacDonald in rematches.
3: Bellator tournament championships on Lima’s mantle. He won the Bellator Season 5 Welterweight Tournament, the Bellator Season 8 Welterweight Tournament and the 2018-19 Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix.
16: Lima wins by knockout or technical knockout, providing him with half of his professional total (32). His list of victims includes Koreshkov, Michael Page, Terry Martin, Rick Hawn and Ben Saunders (twice). Lima also owns 10 victories by submission.
1,261: Days spent by Lima as Bellator welterweight champion. He remains one of only two fighters—lightweight Michael Chandler is the other—to win the same divisional title on three different occasions. Should Lima defeat Mousasi to capture the middleweight crown, he would join Joe Warren, Ryan Bader and Patricio Freire as the only multi-division champions in Bellator history.