SAN JOSE, Calif. — Gegard (The Dreamcatcher) Mousasi stopped Canadian Rory (The Red King) MacDonald in the second round in a battle of champions Saturday night at Bellator 206.
Referee Herb Dean stepped in at 3:23 of the second round with Mousasi punishing a bloody MacDonald on the ground. It was Mousasi's eighth straight win.
The MMA fight was contested at 185 pounds so only Mousasi's middleweight title was on the line at the SAP Center. MacDonald, a native of Kelowna, B.C., who fights out of Montreal, still holds Bellator's welterweight crown (170 pounds).
Mousasi (45-6-2) was the aggressor in the first round, using his jab and leg kicks to attack MacDonald (20-5-0). Things went south in the second for the Canadian when he tried to take Mousasi down, only to find himself on the bottom.
Mousasi had his way with MacDonald on the ground, working his way to half guard and then full mount — carving him open with strikes as he did it.
"Much respect to Rory," Mousasi said in his post-fight interview. "I like him a lot. Phenomenal fighter. Phenomenal guy. Family guy."
Mousasi weighed in at 184.4 pounds while MacDonald was 184.9 pounds. At six foot two, Mousasi had a two-inch height advantage, but both fighters had a 76-inch reach.
The 33-year-old Mousasi, a stylish striker, went 9-3-0 in the UFC with wins over former champions Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson and has held titles in Dream, Cage Warriors and Strikeforce.
Born in Iran, Mousasi moved to the Netherlands as a child.
The 29-year-old MacDonald, a well-rounded fighter with an iron will, was 9-4-0 in the UFC and is the last fighter to beat current UFC welterweight champion Tyron (The Chosen One) Woodley.
MacDonald's welterweight championship is already under threat from another quarter. Bellator is staging a Welterweight World Grand Prix with eight 170-pounders, including MacDonald.
The tournament kicked off Saturday with Douglas Lima (30-7-0) winning via fifth-round submission over Andrey (Spartan) Koreshkov (21-3-0) in a battle of former champions. The Russian won the title off Lima in 2015 only to lose it back to him the next year.
MacDonald will have to put his 170-pound title on the line each time he fights in the tournament, starting with veteran Jon Fitch (31-7-1 with one no-contest) in a bout whose timing has yet to be announced.
In the co-main event, former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton (Rampage) Jackson stopped former Pride title-holder Wanderlei (The Axe Murderer) Silva at 4:32 of the second round to even their series at two wins apiece.
Silva (35-14-1) won in Pride in 2003 and 2004 with Jackson (38-13-0) victorious in the UFC in 2008.
The two exchanged a flurry of punches in the second round before Jackson stunned Silva with a combination at the fence, then put him down and finished him.
"All the respect in the world to Wanderlei," said Jackson.
The 40-year-old Jackson, at 254 pounds, weighed in some 27 pounds heavier than the 42-year-old Silva.
Jackson had lost five of his last 10 fights including the last two. Silva has now lost four of his last six outings and nine of the last 13.
The Canadian Press