UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Gegard Mousasi was hoping to make a massive statement in his Bellator debut. He got the win over Alexander Shlemenko in Friday’s Bellator 185 headliner, but it came by the skin of his teeth.
Mousasi (43-6-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) edged former Bellator middleweight champion Shlemenko (56-10 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) by unanimous decision in the Spike-televised main event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. He was forced to overcome a busted eye for all but the first few minutes of the bout, hindering his ability to inflict his full offensive arsenal.
“The Dreamcatcher” came into the organization as a high-profile free agent signing, joining multiple other notables who have jumped over from the UFC in recent years. There’s a growing trend of those crossovers struggling in the Bellator cage, and company President Scott Coker said it’s a familiar situation.
“Here’s how I feel about it: When I owned Strikeforce and we were doing fights back in the day, we had some of the best fighters on the planet, and it was like, ‘Well, the UFC guys are better than the Strikeforce guys,’” Coker told MMAjunkie at Bellator 185’s post-fight news conference. “Then look what happened. Tyron Woodley, Luke Rockhold, Daniel Cormier – those are all (Strikeforce) guys. It’s just that people when they come over here feel it should be easy, but Shlemenko is a guy that had 55, 60 fights. That’s…