Bellator matchmakers didn’t waste much time in arranging a duel for their vacant middleweight title after it was relinquished by Rafael Lovato Jr. this week, as former 185-pound champion Gegard Mousasi will take on the promotion’s welterweight kingpin Douglas Lima in May.
Lovato Jr., who beat Mousasi last June to capture the title, vacated the title earlier this week after the discovery of a potentially hereditary brain abnormality looked to have ruled out the possibility to gain a license to fight and the promotion announced overnight that Mousasi will get a shot at regaining that title against Lima, arguably Bellator’s most dominant champion.
Lima last competed in October where he earned a decision win against Rory MacDonald. Prior to that, he became the first fighter to beat Michael ‘Venom’ Page, whom he knocked out early in the second round of their fight last May. His only two defeats in the last eight years, against MacDonald in their first fight and Andrey Koreshkov, have both been avenged.
Since we can’t have a cross-promotional superfight I’ll give you another.
🚨 On May 9, @Mousasi_MMA vs. @PhenomLima for the vacant @BellatorMMA middleweight world championship. pic.twitter.com/8TVpcWP9sa
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) February 11, 2020
Mousasi, meanwhile, got back into the win column following in September with a split decision victory against Lyoto Machida. The 25-year-old has held world titles in Bellator, DREAM and Strikeforce and joined his current promotion after putting together a five-fight winning streak in the UFC, which included victories against Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort and Thiago Santos.
In addition to the Mousasi-Lima clash, light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader will defend his title against Fedor Emelianeko protege Vadim Nemkov.
Bellator 243 will take place on on May 9.