Bellator heavyweight grand prix opening-round matchups set; 'Rampage'-Sonnen first up Jan. 20

The bracket is set for the Bellator MMA World Grand Prix 2018.

The four opening-round matchups for the eight-man tournament to crown a new heavyweight champion were announced tonight on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

They are as follows:

The Jackson (37-12 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) vs. Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) winner will face the winner of Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) vs. Mir (18-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in one semifinal.

In the other semifinal, the winner of Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) vs. Nelson (23-14 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) will face the Bader (24-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) vs. Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-4 BMMA) winner.

“Rampage”-Sonnen will kick things off at Bellator 192, which takes place Jan. 20 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Mitrione-Nelson is slated for a Bellator event scheduled Feb. 16 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Fedor-Mir and Bader-King Mo are scheduled for April and May events, respectively.

Bellator has yet to determine any alternates for the tournament, though president Scott Coker told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto the promotion is considering several names, including Shane Carwin, Cheick Kongo and Bobby Lashley.

Bellator’s heavyweight championship has been vacant since May 2016, when the promotion stripped then-champ Vitaly Minakov of the belt for failing to defend the title.

The tentative plan is to hold the title fight in December.

For more on Bellator 192 and Bellator’s upcoming schedule, visit the MMA Rumors section of the site.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_bguYGESY_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/bguYGESY.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Nelson, Lashley, Kongo, Mir, Fedor, Minakov? What's up with Bellator's heavyweight title?

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_PUwAlTuM_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/PUwAlTuM.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: Bellator, News

Despite some established veterans and recent additions, Bellator still doesn’t have a heavyweight champion. Could that soon change?

On Friday at Bellator 185, Bellator President Scott Coker was asked about the title, which was left vacant after Vitaly Minakov was stripped of the belt in May 2016 due to inactivity.

However, Minakov (20-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA), a 32-year-old Russian, remains under contract with Bellator, though his past six fights have come outside of the organization. Still, he could be in the mix when the organization finally crowns a new titleholder.

“Minakov is not our champion anymore,” Coker said. “Minakov, as far as I’m concerned, is a fighter that’s under contract for Bellator, but to me, it’s almost irrelevant at this point because we have so many great heavyweight fights now, that when we put this heavyweight title fight together it’s going to be something really special.”

Minakov, though, isn’t the only candidate. The organization has some signed some notable recent additions, including former UFC champion Frank Mir (18-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), former UFC contender Roy Nelson (23-14 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), surging Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) and Cheick Kongo (27-10-2 MMA, 9-2 BMMA), who’s been a Bellator staple since moving over from the UFC in 2013.

You’ve got also got MMA great Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), who recently made his promotional debut, and an assortment of others, including fan favorite Justin Wren (13-2 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), upstart Tyrell Fortune (3-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) and Augusto Sakai (9-1-1 MMA, 4-1-1 BMMA). There’s also former WWE star and amateur-wrestling standout Bobby Lashley (15-2 MMA, 5-0 BMMA).

“Bobby, we’ve been talking to him,” Coker said. “I know he’s been very busy with his pro wrestling and his kids, so I’m not sure what his status is. But I think he’s not going o be fighting anytime before the end of the year.”

So, what’s the next move, with or without Lashley? Could a champ be crowned soon?

“The heavyweight title, I think first quarter (of 2018), going into the second quarter, we’ll do something big as far as having a heavyweight championship fight,” he said. “I think crowning a champion, it’s kind of becoming clearer who we’re probably going to have fight.

“That’s something I don’t want to talk about that much now, but we’ll talk about and in the upcoming weeks we’ll have something for you guys.”

For more on the Bellator’s upcoming schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/WZHF6K7DJurzpQRHaLaVP3/279519”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Mitrione def. Emelianenko”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie