The first round of Bellator MMA’s Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament is now in the books with the conclusion of Bellator 199: “Bader vs. King Mo,” which took place this past weekend (May 13, 2018) at SAP Center in San Jose, California. As you can see from the graphic above all of the brackets have now been updated; however, let’s take a quick look back at how we got there through each of the four first-round bouts.
The tournament kicked off at Bellator 192 in Inglewood, Calif., with an opening round bout between Chael Sonnen and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Even though Jackson had a formidable size and power advantage going into the match, Sonnen’s wrestling technique put Jackson’s butt on the canvas repeatedly, allowing “The American Gangster” to advance via unanimous decision.
Sonnen’s opponent for round two would not be determined until Bellator 198 at Allstate Arena just outside of Chicago, Illinois. In an explosive main event that only lasted 48 seconds, PRIDE legend Fedor Emelianenko blasted his way through former UFC champion Frank Mir to advance via knockout. The date and time that Sonnen and Fedor meet has not been announced, but Sonnen wanted Fedor before the tournament even began.
On the other side of the bracket, Matt Mitrione defeated Roy Nelson at Bellator 194 in a rematch of their previous encounter in UFC. Mitrione squeaked out a majority decision, a somewhat puzzling result given that he seemed to largely dominate the fight, but the result meant that ”Big Country” gets a second chance as a tournament alternate if he wins at Bellator 200 on May 25, 2018.
Even though they are real life friends, Ryan Bader wants Heavyweight competition and he’ll get it from his pal Mitrione thanks to a fight that only lasted 15 seconds with Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal on May 12, 2018. Bader’s explosive power will be put to the test by a much more physically imposing opponent who is also an ex-NFL player when the date for the two to meet is finally set.
In summary: Sonnen defeats Jackson, Emelianenko defeats Mir, Sonnen meets Emelianenko in round two. Mitrione defeats Nelson, Bader defeats Lawal, Mitrione meets Bader in round two.
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