Bellator 275: Gegard Mousasi vs. Austin Vanderford preview and prediction

Austin Vanderford will meet Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 275.

The middleweight championship will be on the line as champion Gegard Mousasi meets the potential new face of the division, Austin Vanderford in the main event of Bellator 275. The undefeated Vanderford will seek to do what only one Bellator fighter has been able to do to Mousasi; win.

Mousasi has been utterly dominant in Bellator since joining the promotion. He’s 6-1 in his 7 fights in the company and has won the Bellator middleweight championship twice so far. His lone loss was to Rafael Lovato Jr., in a very close fight. He’s defeated Douglas Lima, Lyoto Machida, Rory MacDonald, and Rafael Carvalho so far in his Bellator career. He’s battle-tested.

For Vanderford, this is not only his first title shot in the company but it’s against arguably the division’s best-ever champion. This is a step up in talent and Vanderford has never shared a ring with anyone as good as Mousasi. This will be a true test.

Austin Vanderford and Gegard Mousasi will clash styles at Bellator 275

The two men both rely on striking but in very different ways. For Mousasi, he has the traditional kick-boxer approach. He keeps himself in the center of the cage and attacks, hoping to press his opponent against the cage. He has a lead jab that has put down other grapplers like MacDonald and John Salter and has tremendous takedown defense.

For Vanderford, it’s about getting in close, securing the takedown, and then working from the top position and throwing big bombs at his opponents. Since joining Bellator that’s been his modus operandi, get the guy down and attack. He isn’t a submission guy but he can pull out a few if pushed but his bread and butter is classic ground and pound.

For Vanderford, that may be a problem as Mousasi has incredible take-down defense. Mousasi has faced guys like Vanderford before but the closest comparison to Vanderford would be MacDonald, who tried to take Mousasi down but to no avail. Eventually, Mousasi countered, landed on top of MacDonald, and pummeled his way to a victory. Even Salter, a wrestler, couldn’t take Mousasi down for long.

It’s fair to wonder if Vanderford can take down Mousasi and if he can’t if he can muster a gameplan away from taking him down and beating on him. Mousasi may just be the greatest middleweight ever and has five different titles, across three different companies that help affirm that.

For Vanderford to get the win, he’s going to have to put together the best possible gameplan he’s ever had. If he doesn’t, he’ll soon see that while Mousasi is 36 and fighting in his 58th pro MMA fight, he’s still at the top of his game. He has 48 wins, 39 from stoppages, Vanderford needs to not take him for granted or assume that the years have been anything other than kind to Mousasi.

Bellator’s middleweight division is shallow currently and Vanderford may have gotten some easy wins leading up to their fight, so it’s fair to wonder if the two men are even on the same level currently. Likely, Mousasi will walk Vanderford down and retain his title. A lot of people may be picking the upstart but like with Ryan Bader and Valentin Moldavsky, you should know never to count out the top dog, regardless of age.

Winner: Gegard Mousasi by KO/TKO.

Bellator 275: Gegard Mousasi vs. Austin Vanderford takes place on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, live from the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your news and highlights.