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Bellator 215 predictions, preview for ‘Mitrione vs Kharitonov’

Sergei Kharitonov

Bellator 215: “Mitrione vs. Kharitonov” airs tomorrow night (Fri., Feb. 15, 2019) from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The fans on the East coast are about to be treated to a massive mountain of muscle in the main event that comes packed with high knockout potential!

Let’s break it down:

265 lbs.: Matt Mitrione (13-6) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (29-7, 1 NC)

Former Heavyweight Grand Prix competitor Matt Mitrione was knocked out of his bracket in the second round … though not by knockout. Ryan Bader used his wrestling background to the fullest of his abilities to take the bigger and heavier Mitrione down to the canvas repeatedly, taking virtually no damage for the entire duration of the fight. The fans in Uncasville may not have been thrilled by this one-sided domination, but if Mitrione feels in any way responsible for the outcome, this main event is his chance to make amends.

Sergei Kharitonov is very unlikely to follow the same gameplan as Bader. With 57 percent of his wins (16 of 28) coming by knockout, including the notoriously hard to finish Roy Nelson in his last Bellator fight, expect him to engage with Mitrione for some fireworks. Mitrione’s style is even more singular than his opponent’s with 84 percent of his wins (11 of 13) coming by knockout, so the question isn’t if they will stand in a phone booth and haul off with strikes but when.

Not only are they perfectly matched for each other stylistically, but they are also perfectly matched for each other in age and size. Mitrione is 40 and Kharitonov is 38, Mitrione is 6’3” and Kharitonov is 6’4,” Mitrione has a 79” reach and Kharitonov has a 76” reach. While that gives a slight advantage to Mitrione on reach, it also gives Kharitonov an equally slight advantage in age, and it would appear those two things basically negate each other when all things are considered. The edge ultimately favors Mitrione, though, because we’ve seen cracks in Kharitonov’s chin that are deeper than “Meathead” has ever shown.

Final prediction: Matt Mitrione wins via first round knockout

170 lbs.: Logan Storley (9-0) vs. Ion Pascu (18-9)

Following an impressive win at Bellator 204 in Sioux Falls, Logan “Storm” Storley gets another fight on the main card against a hungry Ion “Bombardierul” Pascu. Why is he so hungry? Well despite getting half of his wins by knockout (nine of 18) he has yet to win in the Bellator cage. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the stylistic match-up for him to turn things around. Storley is a wrestler both figuratively and literally, cut from Brock Lesnar’s mold — same hometown, same collegiate experience, same method of dominance. Storley has an uncanny ability to sweep opponents off their feet and lay in hands and elbows until they turtle up and capitulate. Unless Pascu is quicker to the punch or is able to time a takedown with a well placed knee, I see no reason Storley won’t remain undefeated.

Final prediction: Logan Storley wins via first round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Eduardo Dantas (20-6) vs. Toby Misech (12-6)

Things have not gone so well for Mr. Dantas of late. The former Bellator champion lost his title to “The Wolf” Darrion Caldwell in a grueling five-round decision, then got KTFO by the now retired Michael McDonald. Bellator is giving him every opportunity to turn things around with late notice fighter Toby Misech on this card. At 10-5 he’s certainly not a pushover, and he’s coming off a win on the “Prelims” undercard of Bellator 212, so good for him. The jury is still out on his overall game, though. He had a test on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender’s Series and flunked it, and he’s a “streaky” fighter who goes in surges and slumps. The difference maker is definitely the ground game. Misech has never submitted anybody, Dantas has six wins by submission, and after being rocked in his last bout, Dantas will surely want to avoid the stand up and take this one to the ground. We shall see.

Final prediction: Eduardo Dantas via third round submission

135 lbs.: Michael Kimbel (2-0) vs. Jonathan Douma (3-1)

Kimbel is a highlight-reel fighter with a somewhat mysterious background. That’s fine. Nobody is paying him to tell his life story — not yet anyway. Right now people just want to see him get quick finishes, and he’s two for two in that category. Douma is handpicked for him to get another stoppage. He’s not even undefeated on the minor circuit and is coming in off a technical knockout loss to Adam Acquaviva six months ago. The only thing Kimbel should worry about is that Douma may have improved somewhat in those six months.

Final prediction: Michael Kimbel wins via first round knockout

170 lbs.: Austin Vanderford (6-0) vs. Cody Jones (6-2)

Rounding out the main card is “Mr. VanZant” Austin Vanderford against yet another handpicked opponent in Cody Jones. Some say Vanderford is the most hated man in MMA, but I don’t think he’s exceeded Conor McGregor’s level of fame/infamy just yet. Not by a long shot. He’s a star on the rise, though, and curiously given his association with Paige VanZant UFC let him slip through its fingers despite having gotten an impressive come-from-behind win on Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series.” He has split his finishes 50/50 between knockouts and submissions, while Jones is more of a Brazilian jiu-jitsu man (two out of three finishes). Given that Vanderford rolls with some studs out in Portland, Ore., I doubt that’ll be a problem for him.

Final prediction: Austin Vanderford wins via submission

That’s a wrap!

MMAmania.com will deliver coverage of Bellator 215 tomorrow with a main card on Paramount Network at 9 p.m. ET and DAZN fights starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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Matt Mitrione Wants Fedor Rematch in Russia for Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Final

Matt Mitrione has a vision of how he would like the Bellator heavyweight grand prix to unfold.
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Matt Mitrione Wants Fedor Rematch in Russia for Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Final

Matt Mitrione has a vision of how he would like the Bellator heavyweight grand prix to unfold.
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Bellator 194 ‘Mitrione Vs Nelson 2’ Recap And Highlights!

Bellator 194 ‘Mitrione vs Nelson 2’ aired Friday night (Feb. 16, 2018) from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interview highlights from a card where Matt Mitrione and Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson met for a second time!

Bellator 194 “Mitrione vs. Nelson 2” took place last night (Fri., Feb. 16, 2018) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The second bracket of the Heavyweight Grand Prix was filled out by two former UFC fighters who know each other of old.

Both “Big Country” Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione competed on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter, but would not meet until “Meathead” Mitrione filled in for Shane Carwin at the TUF 16 Finale. Mitrione lost that first encounter by TKO. How would he fare in the rematch?

The first round went solidly to Matt Mitrione. Multiple takedown attempts were stuffed all while “Meathead” punished Nelson with leg kicks and uppercut hands. Nelson finally got a takedown with a minute and change left but scored no offense on top even while he had side control. Round 2 was as Mike Goldberg would say “virtually identical” right down to the late takedown, only Mitrione was also able to open up a cut around Nelson’s left eye, giving him multiple bullseyes to target.

Nelson got the takedown much earlier in Round 3 and it proved to be a huge difference maker, leading to an eventual mounted crucifix where he was pounding on Mitrione. He repeatedly told referee Dan Miragliotta “I’m good. I’m good!” Miragliotta did not stop it. Nelson went for an armbar instead and Mitrione was able to escape. Nelson took him back down again with under a half minute left. “Big Country” won Round 3, but what about the fight?

The judges scored this contest 28-28 and 29-28 X2 for Mitrione by majority draw.

Mitrione spoke to “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen after the scores were announced and Mitrione begged his daughter to go to the father-daughter dance the next night.

“Why is he so damn tough? I hid that cat so damn hard with so many shots. I’m not a judge. I’ll see you guys the next round. I think I’ll see Bader (in) the next round.”

That was not the only rematch in Uncasville. Lightweight fighters Patricky Freire and Derek Campos squared off, with “Pitbull” Freire having won the previous battle via TKO.

The second fight looked much like the first one, only it happened a lot faster this time. Freire let Campos be the aggressor and danced back and forth on the outer circle, making him spin around when he occasionally landed the leg kick, picking the perfect moment to uncork a left hand. When Campos wobbled Freire poured it on, making him stumble a second time, then drop to his knees and face plant for the finish at 2:23 when Kevin MacDonald stopped it and made “Pitbull” the TKO winner.

Chael Sonnen spoke to Freire afterward when he picked up his third straight win.

“It felt great! Like a fun day where I play with my kids at my house. My motivation is the belt. I will beat the champion easy. Mark my words. I’m the next champion!”

Something Freire said was bleeped out after that. Sonnen wasn’t done yet and tried to follow up.

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I want just the belt, and beat the champion, I want to beat all champions in my house, HERE, BELLATOR IS MY HOUSE.”

A former Light Heavyweight champion looked to get back on track against a hard hitting Russian as Liam McGeary donned the four ounce gloves to face Vadim Nemkov.

Even though McGeary is the taller man with the longer reach, Nemkov showed no fear of either advantage and continually had McGeary backpedaling. At one point Nemkov unloaded four straight kicks to McGeary’s lead left leg. It was a dominant and one-sided first round for the Russian.

The second round was just as lopsided in Nemkov’s favor. The lone chance that McGeary had was when Nemkov got on top after a clinch and McGeary tried to cinch up his patented triangle. Nemkov quickly backed out and threw kicks until McGeary stood up at 1:20, then battered the left leg with heavy kicks until the bell ended Round 2.

The end was inexorably and inevitably coming as Nemkov continued to hammer the kicks home in round three. It was quickly clear that McGeary was having problems standing when he fell down throwing a kick and couldn’t get back up. Nemkov targeted the bullseye on the left leg when he finally stood up again and each time McGeary winced and wobbled. When one final kick caused McGeary to turn his head away and fall to the ground Dan Miragliotta waved it off at 4:02.

Two MMA fighters with boxing know-how put their records on the line in the first of two contests between them as Heather Hardy (1-1) faced Ana Julaton (2-3) at Flyweight.

The first round was not the fireworks and excitement that many expected from the experienced strikers. We had long stalemates against the cage with Julaton looking for a takedown and Hardy looking for a choke. Hardy finally won that war in the last minute and was going for the finish on the ground until the bell but Julaton resisted and did not tap.

Julaton did marginally better in Round 2 by scoring a takedown 45 seconds in, but she felt so threatened by Hardy’s submission attempts that she backed away when it got near the fence and let Hardy get her back and go for a second choke. Hardy had more chances to win so she barely edged out Round 2.

The third round was so dull that referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the clinch against the fence and reset them to the center multiple times. Each time Julaton would drive Hardy back into the cage… and do nothing. By all rights this should be a 10-10 round. Even when Hardy got a late takedown Julaton swept her way on top before the bell, meaning neither fighter gained anything from it.

The judges sorted out this snooze fest and handed down a 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 Hardy decision.

After scoring a highlight reel flying knee knockout in his Bellator debut, Featherweight Tywan Claxton returned for a main card fight against Jose Antonio Perez.

This one won’t get a million views on YouTube, but it was no less of a one sided victory. In the first round Claxton took Perez down and unloaded heavy right hands and elbows from half guard. In the second frame Claxton did more of the same only he managed to pin Perez’ head against the fence, forcing referee Keith Peterson to step in at 3:39 after seeing Perez take an uncontested battering.

Despite the domination Claxton sounded frustrated in his interview with Chael Sonnen.

“Yeah I’m just really disappointed you know. My debut I got a beautiful flying knee, and I wanted to come out and put on a show. I had to take him down and finish him with elbows but I wanted to get another knockout and it just didn’t happen. I’m going to go back to the gym and start working again. I went for it. I wanted to hit it again. I’m just going to have to come back with different set-ups. I changed my name to ‘Air’ Claxton so I’m going to have to try for it in every fight.”

For complete Bellator 194 results and coverage click here.

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Bellator 194 Weigh-in Results: Mitrione, Nelson Cleared; Hardy Suffers Overweight Snafu

Bellator 194’s headliner is good to go, but par for the promotion, the weigh-ins were not without a level of drama.
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Mitrione: UFC Can’t Get Out Of Its Own Way

Matt Mitrione was one of the biggest pickups for Bellator MMA when free agency in mixed martial arts (MMA) started picking up.

For “Meathead,” the grass was indeed greener on the other side, as the towering Heavyweight inked a nice contract with the promotion.

Aside from the pay, Mitrione says the differences are vast, but what he finds more comforting is knowing he has more freedom and plenty more sponsorship dollars.

Furthermore, while UFC seems to be doing well at the bank, Matt says the promotion can’t get out of its own way when it comes to fighter treatment.

“Freedom and obviously the sponsorship dollars. So, I am happy, I mean I can always be happier (with sponsorship ), but I am happy. It’s good business. It’s just nice, man. The UFC can not get out of its own way. I think it’s pretty evident in what they do, their consistent missteps. How they handle their guys, the media, like not giving the show money to that cat who made weight. Stuff like that, little tiny things that are just another notch against. I feel like they are, not in a colossal nose dive, but I do not think they are in the right spot. I feel like what Mr. Coker does very casually is what he needs to do to bring fans, eyes over to Bellator. And I think the production is completely different over at Bellator. It’s a spectacle, he took a page out of old Japanese MMA and made it bananas.”

Tyron Woodley can attest to that.

Of course, if you ask UFC president Dana White everything is roses with his company, though some of his other employees still want a bigger piece of the pie.

As for Matt, he’s very happy with his decision to jump ship. And he’ll have the chance to win gold for the first time ever in MMA as he is taking part in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix which will crown a division king once it wraps.

His first hurdle will be against another UFC castaway in Roy Nelson, as they will collide this Friday Feb. 16, 2018 at Bellator 194.

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Matt Mitrione, Ryan Bader Set as Early Favorites in Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix

Matt Mitrione and Ryan Bader are the early betting favorites in Bellator MMA’s heavyweight grand prix, according to online odssmaker Bovada.com.
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Matt Mitrione, Ryan Bader Set as Early Favorites in Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix

Matt Mitrione and Ryan Bader are the early betting favorites in Bellator MMA’s heavyweight grand prix, according to online odssmaker Bovada.com.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Bellator 180 to Feature Fedor vs. Mitrione in Co-Main Event

To quote ol’ Billy Shakespeare, it’s “once more unto the breach”, as Bellator has rebooked Fedor Emelianenko versus Matt Mitrione as the co-main event for the Bellator PPV at Madison Square Garden. If you’ll recall, this fight was already supposed to have happened, but Mitrione was felled by kidney stones the day of the match-up, […]

The post Bellator 180 to Feature Fedor vs. Mitrione in Co-Main Event appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

Bellator 180 to Feature Fedor vs. Mitrione in Co-Main Event

To quote ol’ Billy Shakespeare, it’s “once more unto the breach”, as Bellator has rebooked Fedor Emelianenko versus Matt Mitrione as the co-main event for the Bellator PPV at Madison Square Garden. If you’ll recall, this fight was already supposed to have happened, but Mitrione was felled by kidney stones the day of the match-up, […]

The post Bellator 180 to Feature Fedor vs. Mitrione in Co-Main Event appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider