SAN JOSE, Calif. -- One of the most anticipated matchups in Bellator MMA history turned out to be a mismatch, as middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi dominated welterweight champion Rory MacDonald in a rare superfight.
Mousasi (45-6-2) stopped MacDonald at 3:23 of the second round with elbows from the mount position. The champion-versus-champion fight headlined Bellator 206 at SAP Center on Saturday -- the first Bellator card to be exclusively broadcast on its new streaming partner, DAZN.
"Much respect for Rory -- he's a phenomenal fighter and phenomenal guy," Mousasi said. "I can only say good things about Rory. Thanks for taking the fight and making this superfight for Bellator."
Ultimately, it was not a close fight, as Mousasi's size advantage and technical expertise proved to be a nightmare combination for MacDonald. In the first round, Mousasi picked MacDonald apart on the feet with his jab and right hand.
When MacDonald desperately rolled for Mousasi's legs in the second frame, Mousasi moved into top position and eventually into the mount. MacDonald could only try to hang on from there, but Mousasi expertly postured up and dropped elbows and right hands until the finish.
"I knew I had the better stand-up and a reach advantage," Mousasi said. "The goal was to keep it stand-up, make him panic and go for [the] takedown."
MacDonald, 29, bled badly from the nose but was never knocked out. He remains Bellator's welterweight champion and is scheduled to immediately go into its welterweight grand prix, although a date for his first-round matchup against Jon Fitch has not yet been announced.
Mousasi, of Netherlands, is now 3-0 since signing with Bellator last year. He is on an eight-fight win streak overall and was in middleweight title contention in the UFC when he opted to leave the promotion for a better offer from Bellator.
He said he would like to face middleweight Rafael Lovato Jr. (9-0) in his next bout and then possibly former UFC champion Lyoto Machida, who makes his Bellator debut in December.
Jackson knocks out Silva in legends fight
Jackson (38-13) evened his series with Silva (35-14-1) at 2-2, with a finish at the 4:32 mark of the second round. The rivalry dates all the way back to 2003, when the two met in the Pride Fighting Championships in Japan for middleweight supremacy.
For Jackson, 40, it was his first knockout in more than four years. He calmly pressured Silva throughout the fight, and even raised his arms and accused him of running from him near the end of the opening round. The right hand was his most effective weapon, even though Silva wore it well early.
Silva, 42, was far less aggressive than Jackson, but he did fire back with bad intentions in several exchanges. At one point in the second round, he clipped Jackson with one of his patented flurries. Jackson backed away to reset and nodded in his direction.
"He rocked me," Jackson admitted later. "My chin was tested tonight. I know Wanderlei hits hard. When he rocked me this time, I had a flashback to when he rocked me in Japan."
Silva, of Brazil, won the first two meetings in Pride, both by knockout. They met for a third time in the UFC's Octagon in December 2008. Jackson won that fight with a vicious knockout just 3:21 into the opening round.
It is the eighth knockout loss of Silva's storied career, which dates back to 1996.
Lima finishes Koreshkov late, advances to welterweight semifinals
In the opening fight of Bellator's welterweight grand prix, Douglas Lima (30-7) advanced to the semifinals with a submission finish over Andrey Koreshkov (21-3) at 3:04 of the final round. The end came via rear-naked choke. Koreshkov refused to tap and went unconscious.
It was probably not the fight Bellator envisioned to kick off its 170-pound grand prix, as the first four rounds were extremely slow-paced. Koreshkov, of Russia, tried to take Lima down along the fence but was unsuccessful. The result was a lot of clinch work, with very little offense.
Lima, of Brazil, chipped away at Koreshkov with leg kicks when he did have space, and landed a handful of short right hands as he broke off numerous clinches. The end came after Koreshkov shot a weak single-leg attempt, which Lima easily defended. He scrambled to Koreshkov's back moments after the attempt.
This marks Lima's second career win over Koreshkov. He suffered a unanimous decision loss to Koreshkov for the Bellator title in 2015, but knocked him out in the third round of their second meeting in 2016.
Lima will face the winner of a future contest between Paul Daley and Michael Page. Bellator has not yet announced a date for that bout. Entertainer 50 Cent has agreed to pay the eventual tournament winner $1 million.
Pico dazzles again, knocks out fourth straight
Aaron Pico's professional debut is officially a distant memory.
Pico (4-1) delivered his fourth consecutive first-round knockout, against former Bellator title challenger Leandro Higo (18-5). The finish came, mercifully, at the 3:19 mark, after Pico had battered Higo with right hands, flurries to the body and a standing elbow. Referee Mark Smith could have stopped it much earlier.
Considered one of the best -- if not the best -- MMA prospects in the world, Pico lost his pro debut in June 2017 in stunning 24-second fashion, but he has been perfect in Bellator's featherweight division since. The 22-year-old is a former U.S. wrestling Olympic hopeful and trains his boxing under legendary trainer Freddie Roach.
Higo, of Brazil, really stood no chance. He backed up to the fence early and could only manage to throw the occasional counterpunch. He did land his left hand a few times in the pocket, but typically took the worst of every exchange. Near the end, he couldn't even keep his balance from the barrage Pico laid on him.
"He's never fought a guy on my level, who hits as hard as me and pushes the pace," Pico said. "My progression is going fantastic, working with the best coaches in the world. Am I an all-around complete fighter? No. That's what makes me work. Three to four years from now, there will be no one who can touch me in this cage."
Fighting out of Whittier, California, Pico has said he wants to challenge for the Bellator title next year. Current champion Patricio "Pitbull" Freire is a teammate of Higo's.
Melendez goes the distance in split decision over newcomer Zimmerman
It was an occasionally awkward-looking fight in that Zimmerman spent a large portion of the bout attempting to pull guard. She aggressively moved into the clinch on multiple occasions, and she would frequently throw both arms around Melendez's neck in an attempt to pull her in.
Zimmerman's best shot at winning her pro debut came at the end of the first round, when she caught Melendez in a tight triangle and armbar. Melendez managed to escape and would go on to outstrike Zimmerman the rest of the way. She hurt her with knees to the body in the second and boxed her up in the third.
It is the first time Melendez, who is the wife of UFC featherweight Gilbert Melendez, has gone the distance in her MMA career.