Bellator 207: “Mitrione vs. Bader” took place last night (Fri., Oct. 12, 2018) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Heavyweight Grand Prix continued as both Matt Mitrione (13-5) and Ryan Bader (25-5) put friendship aside in a quest to advance from the semi-final round to the finals.
Round one was all Bader up until about the last three seconds. He took Mitrione down quickly and pounded the head and the body repeatedly. It was such a dominant round that the announcers all agreed it was a 10-8. Rinse and repeat for Round 2 save for the fact that Bader didn’t do quite as much damage. Bader nearly got a kimura but Mitrione held on and didn’t tap. Bader was making it a one-sided round but arguably only a 10-9 round.
Third verse — same as the second and the first. Bader got the takedown even faster this time and Mitrione wasn’t even close to getting to his feet in this frame. If he even came close to standing Bader dragged him back to the ground immediately and humbled him in a very old country way. The judges scored it 30-25, 30-24 and 30-25 all for Ryan Bader.
“Darth” Bader spoke to John McCarthy after his impressive performance.
“I’m fighting a 255 pound guy here. Taking him down round by round, 10-8 rounds, I don’t like to fight like that but you take what you got. I’m a fan of the sport and I grew up watching this so a grand prix tournament with Fedor in the finals — let’s go.”
Another clash of titans outside of the tournament brackets was featured on TV as “Big Country” Roy Nelson (23-15) faced PRIDE legend Sergei Kharitonov (27-6, 1 NC).
Kharitonov nearly got himself disqualified by hitting Nelson with a left knee to the head after he stuffed a takedown. Referee Dan Miragliotta gave Nelson a lot of time to recover and signaled for a one point deduction for the foul, while commentary debated if Miragliotta actually should have taken two points for a foul that caused serious damage.
Nelson was able to clear his head and continue, and he tried to make a dog fight out of it by chasing the overhand right, and when he did finally connect Kharitonov brought his left hand up to block another. When it didn’t land he used that left to jab repeatedly, and as the round wore on Nelson was clearly getting stunned by Kharitonov’s power. A big right hand at 4:45 spelled the beginning of the end. Nelson was trapped against the fence eating uppercuts and knees, and when he dropped to his knees it was stopped by KO at 4:59.
Either owing to a lack of time left in the broadcast or a lack of translator for Kharitonov, no post fight interview followed Kharitonov’s hand being raised.
Welterweight contenders squared off outside of the Grand Prix on this night as Lorenz Larkin (19-7, 1 NC) took on Ion Pascu (18-8) with the winner to be a tournament alternate.
Larkin out struck Pascu in every exchange in Round 1 and stuffed every takedown Pascu attempted. It was a clean 10-9 across the board. The second round was more of the same save for Larkin hitting a tremendous right hand uppercut with Pascu holding one leg up in the air. That’s one way to counter a takedown.
Pascu finally got one in the third round but couldn’t find a submission or do enough damage to finish Larkin, losing his leg lock late, so Larkin edged out the 29-28 unanimous decision with all three judges.
“Da Monsoon” spoke to John McCarthy about Pascu afterward.
“He’s tough man. That’s the first Romanian I’ve fought so give it up to him. He took it on short notice, that’s a tough dude, and I got to display my skills against a tough dude here. I had to give it my all. I hate layoffs. What was it like nine months? It’s been a long time. I need that ring time. (Who do I want as an alternate?) Whoever’s in the final.”
A featured bout for the televised card was a Lightweight bout for “Baby Slice” Kevin Ferguson Jr. (3-1) going against Corey Browning (2-1).
The first round was a war of attrition. Ferguson went for and got a takedown after landing a hard shot in the first ten seconds, but Browning was able to sweep on the ground after another takedown and nearly take the back, then trap an arm in crucifix and rain down damage at the end of Round 1. Despite that Browning was the one who looked worse for wear.
For Browning things got better in the second round as Ferguson got rocked quickly and had to get a takedown to save himself. Despite seemingly having a dominant back mount and the chance to sink in a rear naked choke, he was completely out of gas when he didn’t get it, and Browning got on top to pound out the fight at 2:08.
Browning spoke to “Big” John McCarthy afterward.
“I feel like I’m full of heart now. That was tested! I went for the submission, I did not find it, but I had to find a way to come out of here with the W. I couldn’t lose.”
To hype up Bellator 208 on Saturday night Mike Goldberg interviewed Chael Sonnen.
“What’s happening Goldie? I don’t care who gets into that cage, it’s a tournament, it’s a straight line match-up. I’m just looking to come in and take him down. Goldie I swear many things in this sport just won’t go away. None of them matter, this is an ass-whipping contest. The guy who can get to the target first will win. Next question. I’m not looking to put him down, I’m looking to build him up. I want a glorious win. If I take it on the chin I’ll take it like a man but if I win I want my credit too. I’ve been at this sport for a long time and I never care if people hear the game plan. I’m like Mike Tyson, everybody knew the uppercut was coming and nobody could stop it. Goldie I don’t mean to give a spoiler alert but Chael wins.”
Rounding out the main card action was a another Lightweight match featuring “Jetsetter” Carrington Banks (7-1) and Mandel Nallo (6-0).
It was a back and forth first round with Nallo nearly trapping Banks’ head on a takedown for an anaconda choke, but Banks got multiple takedowns and controlled Nallo on the ground. You could score Round 1 any way you like but the second round made that debate academic as Nallo dropped Banks with a single right knee flush ending it at 0:57. After a commercial break Michael Williams made it official and the winner spoke to John McCarthy.
“I think (the anaconda) was real close. He was a real savvy wrestler so I couldn’t choke him with his own arm. I was trying to do this quick but I felt like a doofus when he got out. We knew he was a great wrestler, I kept missing with my right hand because he was dipping, so instead of throwing a doofy uppercut and getting hit with a hook, I figured the knee would do the trick. I like training so I’ll be ready — wherever!”
For complete Bellator 207 results and coverage click here.