Gegard Mousasi vs. John Salter Odds, Pick & Preview: How to Bet Bellator 264 Main Event (Friday, Aug. 13)
Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: MMA fighter Gegard Mousasi.
- Gegard Mousasi and John Salter face off in the Bellator 264 main event.
- Mousasi is the reigning champion and heavy -410 favorite to retain his title.
- Billy Ward breaks down where he sees value on betting the fight, below.
Gegard Mousasi vs. John Salter Odds
|Over/Under||4.5 (+130 / -160)|
|Venue||Mohegan Sun Arena|
|Time||11 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings.|
With no UFC event this weekend, Bellator 264 takes center stage, with a middleweight title fight between veterans Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi and John Salter.
This will be the first title defense for Mousasi, who claimed the vacant crown (due to the retirement of Rafael Lovato Jr) with a dominant, if boring at times, decision victory of Douglas Lima. A veteran of essentially every major MMA organization (UFC, Pride, M1, K1, Dream, Strikeforce), Gegard is 5-1 in his Bellator stint, with the only loss coming to the aforementioned Lovato.
Salter punched his ticket for the title fight after defeating Andrew Kapel via arm-triangle in his last fight. Also a UFC veteran, Salter is 13-2 since leaving the organization in 2010, including 8-1 in Bellator, having only lost to, you guessed it, Lovato.
Mousasi is a fairly significant favorite here against the lesser-known Salter. Sportsbooks have this one just slightly more likely to end inside the distance, with the current line at +130 to go all five rounds and -180 to end before the final bell.
Let's take a look at both sides to see if we can find some value in this fight.
Tale of the Tape
|Weight (pounds)||185 lbs.||185 lbs.|
|Date of Birth||8/1/85||3/21/85|
The champion has a 1-inch height, and 2-inch reach advantage here, which could be a big deal given his style. Mousasi put on a masterclass in cage control in his title win against Lima, with Lima being just short on a number of big strikes.
Furthermore, Mousasi was able to keep the more aggressive Lima at distance with excellent footwork. Watching the fight, Lima had his back to the cage almost the entire time, while Mousasi cut off escape routes constantly. While Gegard had a harder time doing the same to Lyoto Machida in his prior fight, his length, footwork, and cage control should be a major advantage against Salter.
Also an excellent grappler, the Judo blackbelt is able to control the ground game in most of his fights, without forcing the issue or selling out for risky takedowns.
If Salter has an edge here, it’s with his wrestling. With 10-of-18 wins coming by submission (and a few more by ground and pound), Salter has made the takedown look easy in his Bellator fights.
I’m extremely impressed by Salter’s work when the fights get to the ground as well. He’s extremely patient, not sacrificing control to land big shots or chase submissions, and willing to let his opponent back up if he doesn't like the spot — knowing he’ll be able to bring them back to the ground whenever he wishes.
His striking isn’t nearly as advanced as his opponents, but he has heavy hands and solid defense. If he’s able to get inside of Gegard’s range, he’ll have an opportunity to set up his takedowns with some big shots.
I expect Mousasi to be able to control the distance of this fight fairly effectively. If he’s able to keep Salter’s back to the cage, especially while clinching, it will be much harder for Salter to bring the fight down to the ground.
Salter would have a tough time working takedowns from the Clinch with Mousasi. While he’s the superior wrestler, Mousasi’s Judo gives him a major advantage from that range.
This presents a conundrum for Salter, he can’t live at striking range with Gegard, but he’s unlikely to be able to bring Mousasi down from the clinch or against the cage.
From what I’ve seen of him in the past, he has an excellent shot form the outside, and is fairly explosive, so he might be able to solve this problem, but it will be a far greater challenge against Mousasi who will be happy to stay on the outside and not serve up takedown chances by stepping in while throwing big shots.
Mousasi vs. Salter Pick
Among all of Salter’s Bellator fights that have betting odds listed, he’s 1-1 as an underdog, with the rest of his wins coming as a favorite.
The odds here feel about right, with Gegard being implied to win about 75% of the time. If forced to make a moneyline play, I think I’d go with the champion, but I don’t see any value here so I’ll be passing personally.
If you wanted to bet on the challenger, I’d split my bets between a win by decision (+600) and a submission (+800.) This gives you an effective line of +300 on Salter (assuming you split your bets proportionately) and I really don’t see a knockout of Mousasi.
While I suppose a Salter victory could happen via ground and pound, Salter generally is looking to control rather than land big shots, and Mousasi is both extremely durable (only been KO’d once in his 56-fight career) and too crafty to end up in a dangerous position to begin with.
I prefer betting the distance and time props here.
Mousasi seemed very content to sit back and wait for the fight to come to him against Lyoto Machida, and I don’t see himself putting himself in dangerous positions here when he can pick Salter apart from range. DraftKings has the fight to start Round 4 at -150, which is my favorite bet (in case Salter gets worn down in the championship rounds, which I see as a possibility).
I also see some value in the fight to go the distance at even money. Mousasi should be able to control this fight the whole way, but doesn’t have huge power, and is smart enough to know that loading up on big shots opens himself up for the takedown.
The Pick: Fight to start Round 4 (Yes -150) | Fight to go the distance (Yes +100)