One of Bellator’s semifinal bouts in the promotion’s Heavyweight Grand Prix has been set, and in today’s MMA odds and ends I’ll give my thoughts on the bout.
Ryan Bader vs. Matt Mitrione Added To October Bellator Event
Heavyweight grand prix semifinalists Ryan Bader and Matt Mitrione will meet at a Bellator event on Friday, October 12 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The promotion itself has confirmed the date for the bout, and the fight will headline the card, which can be seen on both Paramount Network and the new streaming service DAZN. The other semifinal matchup between the legendary Fedor Emelianenko and Chael Sonnen still doesn’t have a date, but it’s good we know when Bader and Mitrione will be fighting, though it’s disappointing the entire tournament won’t be finished in 2018. As far as Bader vs. Mitrione goes, it’s a great fight. Bader (25-5) is the Bellator light heavyweight champion, winning the belt with a decision win over Phil Davis and then successfully defending it against Linton Vassell. He then decdied to challenge himself and move up to heavyweight and looked amazing, needing just 15 seconds to brutally knock out Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in the Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinals. Overall, Bader has won 10 of his 11 fights with his lone loss in the last five years coming against Anthony Johnson. It’s amazing the UFC let him go as he’s clearly a top-five light heavyweight and possibly now even a top-10 heavyweight as well. Mitrione (13-5) was let go from the UFC after losing two-straight fights to Ben Rothwell and Travis Browne but since coming to Bellator has won four-straight fights, knocking out Fedor, Oli Thompson and Carl Seumantufa and winning a decision over Roy Nelson in the Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinals. Mitrione is the bigger fighter of the two but we’ve seen that one of his weaknesses is his takedown defense and Bader is a tremendous wrestler. Mitrione is also known for his knockout power but we’ve seen Bader really show off some serious thunder in his strikes in recent bouts. Overall it’s just a tremendous fight and Bellator lucked into one heck of a semifinal matchup. As far as the odds go, I’m expecting close odds here with Mitrione slightly favored due to his size and knockout power, and if that’s the case I would strongly consider a play on Bader. I just don’t think you can bet against the new-and-improved version of Bader at this point of his career.