Sports

Gegard Mousasi brutalises Austin Vanderford to retain Bellator middleweight title


A packed out crowd at Dublin’s 3Arena that included Love Island star Josh Denzel, UFC’s Dean Barry and the legendary Conor McGregor were on hand for a manic night of fights

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Gegard Mousasi brutally stopped Austin Vanderford within a matter of minutes tonight at Bellator 275 at Dublin’s 3Arena.

A star-studded crowd including UFC legend Conor McGregor and Love Island’s Josh Denzel became were on hand at the iconic Irish venue to watch the promotion’s return to the Emerald Isle.

And they were treated to an exciting night of fights with a host of hometown names sprinkled in with some international flavour.

Mousasi got the crowd going with a ‘Sweet Caroline’ walkout – but there was nothing sweet about what he did to Vanderford over the following two minutes.

The iconic Dutch middleweight champion defended his title in style by brutalising the unbeaten American within minutes of the very first round.

Vanderford seemed unable to deal with Mousasi’s power throughout, and when he finally shot for a takedown that could have changed the fight, the end was inevitable.

Mousasi neutralised his effort with ease before raining down shots, forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight.

A classic all-Irish co-main event saw the historic meeting of No.4 and No.5-ranked Leah McCourt and Sinead Kavanagh, with neither woman disappointing over the three-round contest.

McCourt dragged the renowned amateur boxer Kavanagh to the ground early, and appeared to be taking advantage of her superior grappling.

But Kavanagh, known more for her stand-up pedigree turned the tables and almost had a submission of her own late in the round.

The fight ended up back on the feet, with McCourt withstanding a gruesome submission attempt that would have seen many tap.

But Kavanagh ultimately took the decision, much to the delight of McGregor who carried her to the backstage area.

The rowdy Dublin crowd, fresh from a stunning come-from-behind victory by Drogheda’s Ciaran Clarke, were in full voice for the historic matchup between two of Europe’s best female fighters.

And they were left stunned when Kavanagh took McCourt down in the second, although she couldn’t do much with her considerable control.

An animated McGregor cheered on from the sidelines as almost an unsanctioned cornerman for Kavanagh, with whom he has trained for most of her career.

But it was McCourt who ended the round on top after managing to come yet again from a near-finish to take over after seeming to hurt Kavanagh with a kick from her back.

What did you make of Gegard Mousasi and Austin Vanderford’s fight? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Kavanagh’s knee was clearly causing issues in the third as she struggled to get in her striking rhythm, with McCourt taking advantage through leg kicks and eventually taking the fight down to her level.

McGregor was in attendance from the first bell of the prelims to watch close friend Lee Hammond make his big show debut against Brit Jamie Hay.

And Hammond quickly dispatched of the Manchester native with a brutal first round TKO, which saw the UFC icon make his way into the cage to celebrate.

After that, it was a stop-start night for the hometown talent, with Nathan Kelly, Darragh Kelly and Clarke all winning, while Danni McCormack and Brian Moore were defeated.

Adopted Irishman Daniele Scatizzi was also unable to get the win, while the standout prelim moment was a vicious KO of British veteran Charlie Leary by Davy Gallon.

Bellator will return to Europe with shows in London and Paris this May.

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