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Bellator 275 predictions — Gegard Mousasi vs. Austin Vanderford: Fight card, odds, start time, live stream

Bellator 275 hosts a middleweight championship fight between battle-tested champion Gegard Mousasi and hungry fresh contender Austin Vanderford. Mousasi — a well-traveled fighter who has winning records in Pride, UFC and Strikeforce — is hoping to turn away another rising prospect while near the end of his own career. Vanderford is planning for his coronation, and the biggest win of his career, to take place in Dublin, Ireland on Feb. 25.

Mousasi (48-7-2) has won 11 of his last 12 fights across Bellator and UFC, defeating former world champions Vitor Belfort, Chris Weidman, Rory MacDonald, Lyoto Machida and Douglas Lima in that stretch. Mousasi snapped a three-fight decision streak with a second-round TKO over John Salter in August. Looking ahead, it appears Mousasi will begin working his way down the list of middleweight contenders with a vast experience edge. Despite his recent stretch, Mousasi is a dangerous finisher with double-digit knockouts and submissions on his resume. Mousasi has a tool for every obstacle and presents steep challenges in all aspects of MMA.

“Against the cage, it’s possible I try to take him down, but he is a better wrestler than me,” Mousasi said at the Bellator 275 media day. “If I try to take him down and waste a lot of energy, that’s not very smart. I don’t need to try to take him down because he’s going to try and take me down the whole time. I just have to stuff a couple of them, then I will end up on top. My ground and pound is much better than his, that I know for sure. He’s in trouble.”

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Vanderford (11-0) secured his Bellator middleweight title shot with a unanimous decision win over fellow prospect contender Fabian Edwards. The top-heavy wrestler has passed every test in his career thus far, showing off the depth of his offensive game with three TKOs, three submissions and six decisions. Brimming with confidence, Vanderford will need to employ the totality of his game at the highest level to counteract the champ’s steep experience edge.

“I expect Gegard to be Gegard and that not much will change from all of his previous fights,” Vanderford said. “I’m just a different animal and a different opponent that he’s going to be facing. I feel good, I’m confident and I’m excited for Friday night. It would mean everything to get that belt. I was holding it for photos the other day and I just can’t picture myself leaving Ireland without it.”

Here’s the fight card for Bellator 275 with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.

Bellator 275 card, odds

Gegard Mousasi (c) -240

Austin Vanderford +200

Middleweight

Sinead Kavanagh -130

Leah McCourt +110

Women’s featherweight

Ciaran Clarke -400

Abou Tounkara +310

Featherweight

Khasan Magomedsharipov -1000

Jose Sanchez +650

Featherweight

Jornel Lugo -420

Brian Moore +330

Bantamweight

Bellator 275 viewing information

Date: Feb. 25 | Start time: 4 p.m. ET

Location: 3Arena — Dublin, Ireland

TV/Stream: Showtime or the Showtime App

Prediction

Gegard Mousasi vs. Austin Vanderford: Mousasi is certainly on the downswing of his career, but when you have competed at a high level for as long as he has, that statement takes on different meaning. Mousasi has proven an ability to exploit his opponents’ weaknesses and continues to rack up wins. A finisher through-and-through, Mousasi has an 80% finishing rate across 57 pro fights. Vanderford sets up his submissions and ground-and-pound behind a grind-heavy wrestling approach. Vanderford is a promising fighter who has earned his title shot, but Mousasi’s major experience edge (more than five times as many pro MMA fights) makes it tough to pick the underdog. Vanderford will present a challenge, but Mousasi will dig into his vast bag of tricks and equip himself with the necessary tools for victory. He can strike, submit and wrestle — pick your poison. Pick: Mousasi via TKO3

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