One Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix finalist is set after Friday’s Bellator 207 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Ryan Bader will face the winner of Saturday’s semi-final round bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Chael Sonnen in the finals in January.
Bader dominated Matt Mitrione in the fight card’s main event with superior wrestling throughout the three-round bout. He put the bigger Mirtirone on his back early in the opening frame and controlled him on the canvas. Each time Mitrione was able to get to his feet, Bader put him back on the floor.
Mitirone came out aggressive in the second frame. Too aggressive. He overextended himself on a punch and Bader seized the opportunity to secure a takedown. Bader delivered punches to the body and head for the duration of the round.
The final frame looked like the first two. Bader immediately took Mitrione down and the former New York Giant didn’t have an answer for Bader’s relentless grappling. It was a dominating performance by the light heavyweight champion. The judges scorecards reflected how one-sided the fight was scoring the bout 30-25, 30-24, 30-25.
“I’m fighting a 255 pound guy right here, get on top of him, use what I know, what’s best for that game plan right there, taking him down trying to punish him more and more. There were 10-8 rounds every round there. I don’t like to fight like that but you’ve got to take what you’ve got.” said Bader after the win.
Bader awaits the winner of Emelianenko and Sonnen, but hopes to face the Russian legend in the finals.
“They both pose different styles, but I’m a fan of the sport. I grew up watching this and a grand prix-style tournament to fight Fedor for the heavyweight championship of the world. Let’s go,” he said.
Two heavyweight veterans met in the fight card’s co-main event as “Big Country” Roy Nelson faced Russian Sergei Kharitonov. The two heavy hitters took the center of the cage and Kharitonov’s jab was effective early. He beat Nelson to the punch and made him pay for missing. Nelson looked to get the fight to the ground, but Kharitonov shook off the attempts and delivered knees in the clinch.
Nelson went to a knee to keep from absorbing another knee and Kharitionov delivered an illegal knee to the grounded Nelson that resulting in Nelson falling to the canvas and a point being deducted from the Russian.
Once the fight was restarted, Nelson aggressively pressed forward. He landed shots but Kharitonov continued to land his jab. Soon Kharitionov’s uppercut found a home. He repeatedly landed on the chin of Nelson. In the closing seconds of the round, an uppercut stunned Nelson and a knee put him face-first on the mat. It was only the third time Nelson has been stopped in his 14-year career.
Bellator 207 Results:
– Ryan Bader def. Matt Mitrioone by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-24, 30-25)
– Sergei Kharitonov def. Roy Nelson by KO (punches and knee) at 4:59, R1
– Lorenz Larkin def. Ion Pascu by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
– Corey Browning def. Kevin Ferguson Jr. by TKO (punches) at 2:08, R2
– Mandel Nallo def. Carrington Banks by knockout (knee) at 0:07, R2
– Vinicius De Jesus def. Tim Caron by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
– Janay Harding def. Sinead Kavanagh by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00, R1
– Andre Fialho def. Javier Torres by majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
– Sarah Click def. Kristi Lopez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
– Mike Kimbel def. Alex Potts by knockout (punches) at 0:06, R1
– Alexandra Ballou def. Lisa Blaine by TKO (elbows) at 3:28, R3
– Pat Casey def. Kastriot Xhema by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)