First Look at Bellator World Grand Prix – The world’s #2 MMA group announced plans for a Bellator World Grand Prix to crown a champion in the heavyweight division.
Half of the fighters are light heavyweights and there is a feeling that this tournament would have been much better 12 years ago, but Bellator deserves credit for putting together a star-studded field. The eight man field appears below along with the quarter final match-ups.
King Mo Lawal vs Ryan Bader– King Mo entered the MMA world with Pride in Japan but he never quite lived up to the hype around his early days. He beat Quinton Jackson in his last fight and is now 1-1 against his Bellator rival. Could a meeting with Jackson be in the works to close out the trilogy if both men advance? At 34 years old, Bader is probably the fighter in the tournament field who is closest to his prime. He came over to Bellator and promptly beat Phil Davis for the light heavyweight title and moving up to heavyweight shows he is still looking for challenges.
Quinton Jackson vs Chael Sonnen – How much “Rampaging” is left in Jackson at 39 remains to be seen. For the last few years Jackson has fought once a year and it will likely be the same for this fight in 2018. Unless Jackson is re-focused, it will be one fight and out for “Rampage” at this point. Look for the “hyper” mouth of Sonnen to talk his way into the headlines prior to meeting Jackson. Sonnen is now 40 years old and though he lends name recognition and adds trash-talking to the tournament, he is probably the least likely winner of the whole thing.
Roy Nelson vs Matt Mitrione – “Big Country” is a dark horse in this one. Father time caught up with Nelson a long time ago but he is experienced and he still has clubbing power in his fists. Mitrione is coming off his best moment in MMA after he KO’d Fedor, but it is still up in the air what Mitrione can do besides punch.
Frank Mir vs Fedor Emilianenko – The Last Emperor is the only MMA fighter in the field who has never been with the UFC, but for many he will be the sentimental favorite. In his last outing, he was knocked out in less than 90 seconds by Matt Mitrione, so it is interesting to see that Fedr was not matchd soft here in round one . Mir is a former UFC heavyweight champion who was 2-6 in his last eight UFC fights, so the move to Bellator suits him. Mir is going to be the heaviest guy in the tournament and as a true heavyweight he presents a tough match-up for the undersized Emilianenko.
Is Ryan Bader the number one seed? Can Fedor still be a player and work his way through this field to close out his storied career? Does Frank Mir have a title run left after so many years of wars with the UFC? Will Roy Nelson ride his right hand to the win? Will Chael Sonnen back up his big talk? There will be drama.
The field is set and the next set of announcements from Bellator will include dates and locations in the cmming weeks. Bellator has our attention for this one.
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