The co-headline bout for UFC 204 in Manchester on Saturday night, Gegard Mousasi will finally get his wish after knocking on the door of Vitor Belfort for a number of years.
Mousasi (39-6-2) comes into this fight having notched wins over Brazilians, Thales Leites and more recently a huge first round KO win over Thiago Santos at UFC 200.
Currently ranked 9th and having won four of his last five bouts, Mousasi is hoping to work his way up the Middleweight rankings. However he recently admitted a win over “The Phenom” isn’t as significant as it used to be and a win is unlikely to increase his stock for a championship chance.
Despite being ranked four places lower than Belfort, the former Strikeforce and Dream Light-Heavyweight champion comes into the fight as the bookies favourite.
Belfort (25-12/ 14-8 UFC) had won four of his five bouts until UFC 198 where he matched up against Ronaldo Souza. Souza finished Belfort in the first round via TKO handing him his first loss in a non-title fight since his return to the UFC in 2009. The Brazilian is now looking to get back on track and put his name in the hat for a title shot in the future.
These two former champions will face off hours before Middleweight champion Michael Bisping defends his title against bitter rival Dan Henderson.
This fight between Mousasi and Belfort has fireworks written all over it and could well be finished inside the three rounds. The longer it goes the better this will be for Mousasi. The last time Belfort hit the second round was in 2013, a stoppage over the current champion.
This is a huge fight for both men in a heavily contested division but with Belfort being 39-year-sold, a loss would more than definitely rule him out of one last title run.