5 Things You Need To Know About Bellator Middleweight Champ Gegard Mousasi

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Gegard Mousasi has reached the mountaintop in the Bellator MMA organization. Now the questions center on whether or not he can stay there.

Mousasi will defend his middleweight championship against welterweight titleholder Rory MacDonald in the Bellator 206 main event on Saturday at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. The 33-year-old former Dream, Strikeforce and Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder enters the champion-versus-champion superfight on the strength of seven consecutive victories — a run that includes wins over Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort, Uriah Hall and Alexander Shlemenko. Mousasi last competed at Bellator 200 on May 25, when he put away Rafael Carvalho with first-round punches to capture 185-pound gold.

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As Mousasi approaches his anticipated showdown with MacDonald, here are five things you should know about him:

1. He has piled up the frequent-flyer miles.

Since making his mixed martial arts debut on April 27, 2003, Mousasi has fought in 12 different countries: Netherlands, Finland, Russia, Ireland, Japan, England, Canada, the United States, Sweden, Brazil, Germany and the Philippines.

2. The Tehran, Iran, native has never shied away from high-level competition.

Mousasi has defeated opponents who have won titles in Cage Rage (Melvin Manhoef), Ring of Combat (Hall and Costas Philippou), Bellator MMA (Shlemenko, Carvalho and Hector Lombard), Strikeforce (Ronaldo Souza and Renato Sobral), Pride Fighting Championships (Dan Henderson) and the UFC (Belfort and Weidman). The six men who have defeated him — Hall, Souza, Lyoto Machida, Muhammed Lawal, Akihiro Gono and Petras Markevicius — have combined for 148 victories and a .725 winning percentage.

3. He has a long-established nose for the quick finish.

A dynamic offensive fighter with potent striking and submission skills, Mousasi has recorded 11 of his 41 career wins in 90 seconds or less. He owns finishes of 10, 31, 35, 40, 60, 62, 65, 70, 79, 88 and 89 seconds.

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4. Steadiness has been a calling card.

Mousasi has never suffered back-to-back losses in his 52-fight career. Meanwhile, he has put together winning streaks of four, seven, eight and 15 bouts. During his 15-fight tear between Nov. 5, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2009, he notched victories against Lombard, Souza, Manhoef, Denis Kang, Evangelista Santos, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt, among others.

5. He flirted with the Olympics.

Mousasi considered trying to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in boxing. However, after he sustained an injury and agreed to a new contract with Strikeforce, the idea was scrapped.

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