Rafael Lovato Jr. entered his Bellator 223 middleweight title fight with Gegard Mousasi as a significant betting underdog. Despite being counted out by the oddsmakers, however, the Brazilian jiu jitsu specialist was able to wrest the belt from the waist of his experienced foe, earning a hard-fought majority decision win after five rounds.
Speaking on his official Instagram account post-fight, the new champ. issued a statement on this emotional, underdog victory.
“My life’s work & a lot of HEART was on display tonight! It is impossible for me to put all of this into words. I am overwhelmed with emotion… The underdog did it tonight!!! I have so many people to thank but for now, I just want to thank everyone who believed in me & was behind me tonight. Now it’s finally time to relax lol.” Rafael Lovato Jr. on Instagram.
With his title-winning defeat of Gegard Mousasi, Lovato is now an impressive 10-0 as a professional mixed martial artist. Other highlights of his impressive MMA career include wins over solid foes in John Salter, Gerald Harris, Chris Honeycutt and Mike Rhodes. Now the Bellator middleweight champion, he can likely look forward to a fight with another UFC veteran in Lyoto Machida, who is more than likely eyeing a middleweight title shot after a recent light heavyweight win over Chael Sonnen.
Gegard Mousasi, meanwhile, has tasted defeat for the first time as Bellator fighter. He won his first-three bouts in Viacom-owned promotion, defeating Alexander Shlemenko, Rafael Carvalho, and Rory MacDonald.
What do you think the future holds for the new champ Rafael Lovato Jr. after Bellator 223?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/23/2019.