Mousasi Earns Another Title with Win over Carvalho
It's rare to see a challenger as big of a favourite as Mousasi at -365. The 51-fight vet has won three belts and fought in over a dozen countries since 2003. He has bested a who's who of elite strikers including Vitor Belfort and Alexander Shlemenko. The defending champion Carvalho (+275) isn't to be underestimated as he's a deadly Muay Thai fighter in his own right.
Mousasi is one of MMA's most underappreciated fighters. The man has built winning records in PRIDE FC, Strikeforce, and the UFC among others. Starting out as a judoka, Mousasi transitioned to boxing (with a 12-1 amateur record) then kickboxing then MMA. This diverse background is why he's one of the sport's most complex strikers and why he's only been outstruck once or twice in his long career.
Carvalho is no slouch either. The Muay Thai fighter is undefeated since his first loss in his debut in 2011 and 12 of his 15 victories have come by knockout including three of his last four. The lanky Brazilian is deceptively strong and has the size and reach advantage. His kicks are fight-enders but he also does significant damage inside the clinch.
If this stays in the pocket, Mousasi's advantage will be his hand speed and movement. Mousasi has impeccable timing and while not a power puncher, his 23 knockouts have been mostly from landing cleanly especially on the counter-punch. Carvalho's advantage will be his versatility and ability to switch stances.
This could be Bellator's best fight and there are so many ways this fight could go. Mousasi just has a few more tricks that go beyond his striking that could sway the fight to his favour.
Carvalho vs Mousasi Betting Trends & Tidbits
Money is pouring in on Mousasi who opened just slight of a 2-1 favourite. Mousasi is arguably the best striker of his weight class and his betting record suggests he is a money train as a favourite. But caution is advised as Carvalho has come through as an underdog on numerous occasions.
- Mousasi opened at -190 and his line has been bet down by 21.3% since
- Carvalho opened at +150 and his line has been bet up by 36.9% since
- Bellator main event fighters who opened as favourites are 6-2 in 2018
- Mousasi is 5-0 in his last five fights when he opened as a favourite
- Carvalho is 3-0 in his last three fights when he opened as an underdog
Striking might be his forte, but as a smart fighter, Mousasi will likely switch it up on Carvalho and use his ever-improving wrestling. Once his weakness, Mousasi has learned to use it to his advantage. Combined with his timing, Mousasi could confuse Carvalho with level changes. Grinding him out is also another option.
Carvalho will be dangerous in the clinch. His knees can cause serious damage but he is relatively untested on the ground. If Mousasi somehow takes him down, Carvalho could get back up but the added threat of the takedown could make Carvalho more gunshy and that plays right into Mousasi's striking.
Prediction: the first rounds of this bout could be a feeling out process but once Mousasi gets in the groove, he'll use a combination of his wrestling and striking to keep Carvalho off-balance. Mousasi should win a clear-cut judges' decision and capture the Bellator title.
Our Record: 14-6
Bellator 200: Carvalho vs Mousasi Fight Card Predictions
Lock It Up: For Phil Davis (-750) versus Linton Vassell (+475); the line on Davis is steep but he could make a solid parlay addition. He's the superior grappler and striker versus Vassell, who has struggled against other superior grapplers like Ryan Bader and King Mo. Davis should win this fight comfortably.
Our Record: 14-6
Underdog Pick: Kate Jackson (+100) is a potential bet because of the plus-money; against Anastasia Yankova (-130), she's going up against a kickboxer who is still green in MMA. While Jackson isn't exactly a worldbeater, she's more experienced and is fighting on home soil. She gets the benefit of the doubt when it goes to the judges.
Our Record: 8-9
Don't Bet on It: Aaron Chalmers (-600) versus Ash Griffiths (+400); this is Bellator's version of CM Punk versus a random jobber. The line on Chalmers is ridiculous as he's only fought low-level competition but Griffith is a losing fighter who was finished in four of his last five fights. Don't come within a ten-mile radius of this fight.
Main Card (Paramount, 9:00 PM ET)
- Middleweight Championship (185 lbs): (C) Rafael Carvalho (-365) vs Gegard Mousasi (+275)
- Welterweight (170 lbs): Michael Page (-325) vs David Rickels (+250)
- Light Heavyweight (205 lbs): Phil Davis (-750) vs Linton Vassell (+475)
- Catchweight (163 lbs): Aaron Chalmers (-600) vs Ash Griffiths (+400)
- Women's Flyweight (125 lbs): Anastasia Yankova (-130) vs Kate Jackson (+100)
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