The semifinals of the 2018 Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix begin Friday, Oct.12 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. and will feature the return of exciting knockout artist Matt Mitrione (13-5) as he steps inside the Bellator cage against light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (25-5), who continues his quest to become a two-division world champion.
The event will be broadcast on Paramount Network at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT and will stream LIVE on DAZN, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and globally on the Bellator Mobile App. Additional bouts will be announced in coming weeks.
Bellator: Mitrione vs. Bader kicks off the semifinals of Bellator’s 2018 Heavyweight World Grand Prix, which will crown a new Bellator World Heavyweight Champion. On the opposite side of the bracket, Fedor Emelianenko (37-5, 1 NC) is set to square off with Chael Sonnen (31-15-1) at a later date.
Matt Mitrione entered Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix fresh off a first-round KO of Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator NYC this past June. Now, following a victory in his first-round matchup with Roy Nelson at Bellator 194, Mitrione advances to meet the always-dangerous Bader. Splitting his training between Indianapolis and Combat Club in South Florida, the Illinois native looks to be in the best shape of his career. Prior to his MMA career, Mitrione was a standout defensive end at Purdue University who subsequently earned his way into the NFL, playing six seasons as a member of the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings. He ultimately found his way into MMA where he became a high-level competitor, defeating the likes of the late Kimbo Slice, Derrick Lewis and Gabriel Gonzaga.
Ryan Bader will make his fourth appearance for Bellator and the first since his 15-second TKO finish of “King Mo” Lawal at Bellator 199, which served as Bader’s first round pairing in the grand prix. Fighting out of Tempe, Ariz., Bader began his professional career by steamrolling the competition en route to a 12-fight unbeaten streak and winning one of the most competitive seasons of The Ultimate Fighter in 2008. “Darth” continued his path of dominance by collecting 15 victories over some of the 205-pound division’s top talent, including wins over former world champions “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans and Phil Davis twice. The former two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler from Arizona State University will look to become one step closer to being a current two-division Bellator champion on Oct. 12.