Bellator 296: Gegard Mousasi Vs. Fabian Edwards Pre-Fight Presser

Gegard Mousasi and Fabian Edwards will square off on May 12th, 2023, from Paris, France, in Bellator 296 with the victor becoming one step closer to competing for a Bellator middleweight title.

Mousasi’s last fight was a defeat to Johnny Eblen by decision, as he lost his middleweight title. In contrast, Edwards is riding high on confidence.

The former has been on a winning streak, scoring two consecutive victories, one of which was a knockout against Lyoto Machida. As a result, Edwards has climbed up to the second spot in the Bellator rankings.

In chief support, Frenchman Mansour Barnaoui faces Brent Primus, the former Bellator lightweight champion, in a bout that will see the crowd get behind their home fighter.

With that being said, the fighters were ready to put it all on the line, as shown by the pre-fight presser.

Scott Coker

On Paris: “When I think about Paris, I think about all the great martial arts talent that has been here for years. Before MMA was legal the best kickboxing in the world was here.”

“When we started making targets for expansion globally, France was on the list as soon as MMA was legal. This will be our third event and I believe it will be our best.”

“Being in the Eiffel Tower for this press conference is amazing as well. We have done fights all around the world and this press conference location must be the best in the world.”

“This is a group of lightweight fighters from all around the world and I believe this is the best lightweight tournament held in history in mixed martial arts.”

On BELLATOR in France: “There are many different organizations around the world that are popular, and we are going to focus on our business and growing our business. I think if you look at our champions, we definitely have the best in the world.”

“Johnny Eblen and Yaroslav Amosov for example are the best fighters in their division. I’m going to focus on our fighters and focus on building our business. This fight will be airing in 160 countries in the world.”

On a potential location for semi-finals for the Lightweight World Grand Prix: “We do fights all over the world and this fight would be big anywhere.”

“Paris is an amazing city. When we set our sights on worldwide travel, we look at London and Tokyo and we would like to do 2-3 events here in France every year and have a subseries of events that we can build in 2024.”

“It can be to try and build the French fighters and find the next big star. When I think about Europe and France specifically, this can be a hub filled with a series of fighters with the winner going to BELLATOR,” Scott Coker

Gegard Mousasi 

On fighting for 20 years:  “This is what I do. I don’t know anything else. One more shot at the title, my fight with Edwards and then I’ll go from there.”

On rematching Johnny Eblen: “I’ll first focus on Edwards, and I just need to come and fight. He caught me good in the first round, and he got the best of me.”

“I just need to come to fight and that’s what I am going to do on Friday, I was hesitant last time to go all out,” Gegard Mousasi 

Fabian Edwards

On Mousasi’s mindset: “On Friday night I’m going to put my hands on him, so I don’t care if he’s looking over me. This fight means a title shot. I don’t look at him [Mousasi] as a legend, he’s just another man.”

On his his longevity: “Believing in your coaches. My coach has been here since day one so that’s the secret.”

On becoming a world champion by 2023: “100%, that’s what I’m aiming for. I’m ready to go. 2023, both champs,” Fabian Edwards

Brent Primus

On  fighting for a mega purse: “Life changing for me, and my family and I am ready for the challenge. After I beat Mansour [Barnaoui], I’m going for the champ over there.”

On rematching Alexander Shabliy: “I can get that revenge in the finals, and I think he has a good chance to take over that side of the bracket. I’m not looking past the tough opponent I have in front of me but it would be nice to get that revenge.”

On facing Barnaoui: “I’m not going to say toughest, I’ve fought some tough guys like Michael Chandler, but I know he’s tough and there are some things that I need to be ready for.”

On the future: “Obviously Usman because he has the belt and that’s the goal but right now, but I have a task in front of me so when I handle business on Friday I’ll look towards that.”

I feel like I can finish Mansour on the feet or on the ground. It’s going to be a tough fight but I’m confident I’m going to finish this guy,” Brent Primus

Mansour Barnaoui

On his BELLATOR ambitions: “Win the tournament, get the belt with my team surrounding me.”

On his preparation: “Same business as usual. The same team with the same project. We know that my opponent is good on the ground, so we are prepared for that.”

On getting a mega purse: “I don’t know yet, I’ll start with a skateboard. I want to win this tournament and get the belt and like I told you before, win all the belts in all the organizations and be the best in the world.”

On his potential rematching Usman Nurmagomedov: “I’m not in his head but one thing is in my head, finish Brent Primus and move on. Every fight is an experience; this one particularly would be a special one.”

His prediction: “A very explosive fight and finish in the first round,” Mansour Barnaoui

Usman Nurmagomedov

His prediction for the co-main event: “We’ll see. I hope we see a great fight and good luck to both of you.”

On Barnaoui’s bout with Islam Makhachev: “Of course I’ve seen this fight, but this fight was a long time ago. Mansour has grown up so much.”

“First of all, Mansour needs to win this fight and I wish you both good luck. I will await you on the top. See you soon,” Usman Nurmagomedov

Johnny Eblen

On the fight: “This is really exciting here. Whether I retire Gegard or crush Fabian’s dreams, I look forward to it. I mean they’re both one of the best guys in the world.”

On his ability: “But I’m the best. I can’t wait to prove that against one of them, so I hope they both put on a show come Friday night,” Johnny Eblen

The main event will air on Showtime at 10 p.m. CEST/9 p.m. BST/4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. Meanwhile, the preliminaries begin at 5:30 p.m. CEST/4:30 p.m. BST/11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT.

Main Card

Gegard Mousasi  vs.-Fabian Edwards – Middleweight

Brent Primus vs. Mansour Barnaoui – Lightweight 

Douglas Lima vs. Costello van Steenis – Middleweight

Thibault Gouti  vs. Kane Mousah – Lightweight 

Preliminary Card

Denise Kielholtz vs. Paula Cristina Flyweight 

Oliver Enkamp vs. Luca Poclit – Welterweight 

Davy Gallon vs. Saul Rogers – Lightweight 

Yves Landu vs. Piotr Niedzielski – Featherweight 

Sarvarjon Khamidov vs. Kevin Petshi – 141 lbs

Chris Gonzalez vs. Tim Wilde – Lightweight 

Fabacary Diatta vs. Keir Harvie – Featherweight 

Asael Adjoudj (5-1) vs Georges Sasu – 150 lbs 

Bourama Camara vs. Romain Debienne – Welterweight 

Simon Biyong vs. Jose Augusto – Light Heavyweight 

Steven Hill vs. Nicolo Solli – Welterweight 

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