F. Edwards tops Mousasi, earns Bellator title shot

Leon might not be the only Edwards family member with a championship in the future.

Fabian Edwards, brother of UFC titleholder Leon Edwards, beat multiple-time former MMA champion Gegard Mousasi via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) on Friday in the main event of Bellator 296 in Paris to earn himself a middleweight title shot.

Edwards landed the cleaner shots throughout and also got the better of Mousasi, 37, on the ground.

Afterward, Edwards faced off in the cage with Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen and the two got into a shoving match. Bellator commentator John McCarthy announced that Eblen vs. Edwards will take place Sept. 23 in Dublin.

“I’m going to get that gold belt and join my brother and make some f—ing history,” Edwards said.

Eblen told Edwards that he’s a “much, much tougher opponent than Gegard — you’re gonna see that when we fight.”

Edwards said, “That belt is mine.”

Eblen beat Mousasi for the title in June 2022.

The first three rounds Friday were mired with fouls, but Edwards got the better of Mousasi in every aspect. Mousasi made a comeback in the fourth, getting Edwards down and passing into mount briefly before landing some shots from Edwards’ back. But Edwards was able to get up and assert himself again in the fifth round.

“There’s levels,” Edwards said.

Edwards (12-2) has won three straight. The Jamaica native has a 7-2 record in Bellator, mostly in Europe. Edwards, 30, is a year younger than Leon, the UFC welterweight champion.

Mousasi (49-9-2) has now lost two in a row — the first losing streak of his 20-year MMA career. The Iranian-born fighter of Armenian descent, who has lived in the Netherlands for years, is a former Bellator (two times), Strikeforce, Dream (two divisions) and Cage Warriors champion.

Mousasi, who left the UFC as a free agent while on a five-fight winning streak in 2015, has been one of the best fighters in the world at either light heavyweight and middleweight for well over a decade.

In the co-main event in Paris, Brent Primus beat Mansour Barnaoui via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) to advance to the semifinals of the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix. His semifinal opponent will be Bellator lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov in a bout that will also be for the title.