It’s been a while since we’ve had the opportunity to see it, but occasionally, former Strikeforce champ Gegard Mousasi has flashes of brilliance. We saw it in 2009, when the Iranian-born fighter wrecked Renato “Babalu” Sobral in 60 seconds, and we saw it in 2008, when Mousasi put Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza to sleep with an up-kick. And while since that time most who’ve faced him have sought their fortunes where the deadly striker isn’t as deadly – i.e., on the ground – it’s entirely possible that when Mousasi steps into the Octagon Saturday to take on elite stand-up fighter Lyoto Machida at UFC Fight Night 36, we’ll see that brilliance again.
For that, we should rejoice.
Unfortunately, because he took all of 2012 off, and only fought twice in 2013, there may be a few fight fans who are in the dark when it comes who Mousasi is and what he’s accomplished. Therefore, a refresher might be in order. Here, then, is all you need to know about him, in easily-digestible form.
- Mousasi was an amateur boxing champ in the Netherlands before switching to kickboxing and eventually mixed martial arts. His first MMA bout was at a local show in Amsterdam on April 27, 2003.
- He’s since amassed an MMA record of 34 wins, three loses and two draws.
- Of those three losses, two were via submission and one was a decision in his fight against “King Mo” Lawal. The loss to King Mo cost Mousasi the Strikeforce light-heavyweight belt, and the bout consisted of the wrestler literally laying on him for five rounds.
- Mousasi has won 18 bouts by some form of knockout. But he has a solid ground game as well, and has racked up 11 wins via submission.
- Although he fought much of his career at middleweight, and even won a DREAM tournament at that weight, for a while Mousasi called the 205-pound weight class home, claiming that the cut down to 185 was too much. However, his fight against former UFC champ Machida on Saturday will be at middleweight.
- Mousasi is friends with Fedor Emelianenko, and once had an exhibition grappling match against the legendary heavyweight at an M-1 Global show. Fedor tossed him around like a ragdoll and eventually armbarred him.
- Some names that Mousasi has beaten include the aforementioned Babalu, Mark Hunt, Hector Lombard and Ovince St. Preux.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports