Bellator 198 “Fedor vs. Mir” took place last night (Sat., Apr. 28, 2018) at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Another bracket of the Heavyweight Grand Prix was decided in the main event as Fedor Emelianenko (36-5, 1 NC) took on Frank Mir (18-11) in the latter’s Bellator MMA debut.
Before that fight could take place fellow Grand Prix fighter Matt Mitrione had a few things to say!
With all of the hoopla out of the way and a lot of fast fights it was time for an electric main event!
The hype lasted longer than the fight. Frank Mir came forward swinging, Emelianenko considered a takedown early, Mir sprang back to his feet and threw a knee, but Emelianenko turned up the pressure and clipped Mir behind the ear, then jacked him with lefts to the head as he crumpled to the ground face down and referee Mike Beltran dived on top to save him. The time of the TKO was 0:48.
Afterward Emelianenko and his translator spoke to “Big” John McCarthy.
“No I didn’t feel anything that he (Mir) threw at all.”
Emelianenko is a man of few words and after a finish like that he didn’t need many. That’s probably why Chael Sonnen stepped in the cage to rile everybody up.
“I think the only thing I hate more than being here in Chicago is being in this ring with you. I assure you that the next time I’m in here it won’t be for long.”
Featherweight contender Emmanuel Sanchez (16-3) was hoping to move a step closer to a long-awaited world title shot, but experienced former UFC veteran Sam Sicilia (16-8) stood in his way.
At one point Sanchez unloaded a series of strikes and Sicilia smiled at him, thinking this was the kind of war he wanted. Once he took Sanchez to the ground, it wasn’t anything he wanted.
Sanchez went for multiple leg locks and toe holds, and when that didn’t work out he jumped his back standing and cranked on the neck until Sicilia fell like a tree and tapped to the arm triangle choke at 3:52 of Round 1.
John McCarthy was the man on the scene for the post-fight interview with an excited “El Matador.”
“You like jiu-jitsu?!! Sam is the real deal. Give it up for Sam everybody! I was well prepared for this moment and I knew I could get the finish anywhere. Anywhere any time any place. I can fight off my back, I can fight off the fence, I was thinking of a million things in my mind, even a flying triangle. Anything you think of you can seize it. Don’t give up! If the German wins I want him. If the Brazilian does I won’t hate. I want it now! Get ready for me. I’m ready to become a world champion!”
Undefeated jiu-jitsu ace Rafael Lovato Jr. (7-0) took on a late replacement fighter coming back from his second MMA retirement in Gerald Harris (25-5) at a catchweight of 188 lbs.
On a night heavy with submissions this fight was more of the same and in its own way more impressive. Lovato was not phased by the late change of opponent nor the takedown off a knee that he threw, quickly wrapping his legs around Harris’ neck and rolling for the armbar the moment he cinched up the position. Harris was in deep trouble and tapped IMMEDIATELY at 1:11 of the very first round.
John McCarthy hit the cage to speak with Lovato after Michael Williams made it official.
“I didn’t come in here to fight off my back. I threw a knee and he pushed me down at the same time. He gave me the armbar, I rolled for it, and it was locked on tight pretty quickly. I’m very confident. I want to show everything that I’ve got, but if it’s on the ground I’m going to win. I’m just gonna keep climbing. This was supposed to be Salter in here tonight. As soon as possible I want to go for that belt. Chicago is my dad’s hometown. He’s from the Southside. We love Chicago!”
Speaking of undefeated fighters with jiu-jitsu credentials, Neiman Gracie (7-0) was slotted for a Welterweight fight on this card with Javier Torres (10-3).
If you expected Gracie to get a takedown and go for a submission, the first round was exactly what you thought it would be — only Torres went for a leg lock of his own in response and turned it into a stalemate. That enabled him to survive but not win the first round, which is still a moral victory against Gracie.
In the second round Gracie pushed Torres into the fence for a leg trip takedown, then slowly inched his way up to a full mount, and having a whole world of options open with two minutes left he jumped to the side for an arm triangle choke and tightened it like a boa constrictor until Torres tapped at 3:18.
“Big” John McCarthy stepped into the Bellator cage for a post-fight interview with Gracie.
“I feel no pressure man. It’s on Royce and Renzo, not me. In here it’s just two guys. Been training a lot with Renzo Gracie, I’m excited (about my Bellator future).”
Opening up the main card was the pro debut of trash talker Dillon Danis taking on six fight veteran Kyle Walker (2-4).
This one didn’t take long. Danis pulled guard and fished for a foot, and even though Walker tried to pull free he was forced to tap to the toe hold at 1:38 of the first round.
Danis spoke to John McCarthy after his fast first-round finish about who he’d face next.
“At the end of the day I’m the one who created all of this. I’m the one who did all the media, created all the interest. We’ll see who really wants this.”
That’s not all — Danis had even MORE to say backstage after he left the Bellator cage.
For complete Bellator 198 results and coverage click here.