Gegard Mousasi Discusses Bellator Debut Fight Against Alexander Shlemenko

Ryan Mayer

Gegard Mousasi is one of the best middleweight mixed martial artists in the world. With a record of 42-6-2 and on a five fight winning streak, he faces Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko (56-9-0) at Bellator 185 tonight in his promotional debut at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. While Mousasi has molded himself into a high-level mixed martial artist, his career began as a boxer in Holland before slowly making the transition to MMA.

“Boxing is very difficult to succeed in in Holland,” said Mousasi to CBS Local. “You don’t have the management. You don’t have the trainers. You don’t have the fights. So, it was easy for me to make the decision to go from that to kickboxing and then they just said ‘Have you ever fought in MMA?’ I didn’t know anything about the ground game. I went in and just fought, knocked the guy out eventually, but I didn’t know anything.”

Mousasi told CBS Local that his proudest moment was winning the light heavyweight belt during his time in Strikeforce back in 2009. Now, as he prepares for his first fight with his new promotion, Mousasi knows that he’s going to have a battle on his hands when he faces Shlemenko, but his main goal is to win another belt.

“I know he comes to fight so I have a fight on my hands in this one,” said Mousasi. “He’s not technically the best striker, but he’s a tough opponent. I’ve seen him pass out instead of tapping out and you don’t get tougher than that. I don’t know if he’s smart (smiling), but he’s definitely tough. I have a fight on my hands, but I feel like I’m superior everywhere.”

When asked about what has been the key to his recent run of success, Mousasi’s answer was simple: he’s continued to learn from past mistakes.

“I think I’ve matured better, I have a different approach to my fights now,” said Mousasi. “The last (loss) one against Uriah Hall I wanted to finish him badly and I was too aggressive. The second time, I beat him easily. Being smart. The smart fighter always, has a better chance of winning. I’m going to be the smart fighter in this fight.”

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