Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Finals Set

By: Giancarlo Aulino

Sunday, October 14, 2018

It was an eventful two-days for Bellator MMA. The promotion put on back-to-back events on both Friday and Saturday night, providing fans with plenty of entertaining fights. Most notably, the events featured the semi-final bouts of the Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament to decide the new Bellator heavyweight champion.

On Friday night, Matt Mitrione (13-5) took on the reigning Bellator light-heavyweight champion Ryan “Darth” Bader (25-5). As I predicted on the BarnBurner’s Ground and Pound MMA show, Ryan Bader ended up dominating Matt Mitrione in their semi-final bout. He successfully utilized his superior wrestling skills to takedown Mitrione over and over again to cruise to a unanimous decision victory.

Bader was also able to maintain ground control for the majority of the fight, which looked to have exhausted Mitrione. Aside from a few rare moments where the fight wasn’t on the ground, Mitrione wasn’t able to really get any offense in on the light-heavyweight champion.

This was a great performance by Bader because he was able to force Mitrione to fight his style and kept it away from being a stand-up style fight, which Mitrione would’ve likely preferred.

In Saturday’s semi-final bout, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (37-5-1NC) took on “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen (31-15-1). Unlike the previous semi-final bout between Bader and Mitrione, this fight only lasted one-round however it was much more entertaining.

Fedor knocked down Sonnen early, but “The American Gangster” was able to recover and even had a few moments where it looked like he could finish the fight. Although Sonnen was able to takedown and slam Fedor, “The Last Emperor” was successful with his striking and takedown defense which allowed him to finish Sonnen by TKO due to strikes.

Even though Sonnen lost the fight, he is the only fighter in MMA that can say he’s fought Anderson Silva twice, Jon Jones, and Fedor Emelianenko, all of whom are considered by many as one of the greatest fighters of all-time in their respective weight-class.

After the fight, it was officially announced that the Heavyweight Grand Prix finals between Ryan Bader and Fedor Emelianenko will take place in January 2019, at The Forum in Los Angeles, California, where Bellator will crown a new heavyweight champion. If Ryan Bader is successful, he’ll become a two-division champion in Bellator.

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Photo Credit: @BellatorMMA

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