With the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix underway, we here at The Weigh-In felt it would be a good time to evaluate the bracket. In addition, we want to address MMA tournaments and their value to the sport.
Bellator’s bracket breaks down as follows:
- Quinton Jackson vs. Chael Sonnen (Jan. 20, 2018)
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir (April 28, 2018)
- Matt Mitrione vs. Roy Nelson (Feb. 16, 2018)
- Ryan Bader vs. Muhammed Lawal (May 12, 2018)
Chael Sonnen won a unanimous decision against “Rampage” Jackson at Bellator 192. Chael is labeled one of the best, if not the best, trash talker in all of the sport. However, many are critical of his victory against Jackson. Many analysts and fans considered the fight boring and lackluster. However, this tournament consists of older fighters who have not been heavily active as of late. There will definitely be some ring or octagon rust among the competitors.
Sonnen is set to take on the winner of the Emelianenko vs. Mir fight, that takes place in April. Seeing Mir back in action will be a treat for MMA fans. This will be his first fight since leaving the UFC. While many feel Fedor is past his prime, this fight could have potential fireworks, as both men are out to prove that their best days are not behind them.
On the other side of the bracket, we have Matt Mitrione, who Sonnen said is the favorite to win it all. Analysts also agree, as Mitrione was released as the favorite for betting purposes. I do not disagree. Mitrione was one of the biggest names to defect from the UFC after what I deem to be a bullshit loss to Travis Brown. For those that have a short memory, or like my grandmother suffer from dementia, Brown eye gouged Mitrione twice during that fight. In addition, the referee of that fight handled everything wrong. I will not go into it, but as a wise man once said, go to the game tape!
Mitrione has knock out power, a well-rounded ground game, bedroom eyes, and dynamite thighs. That is a paraphrased quote that came from The Weigh-In’s own, Matthew Ward. At one point, Ward asked me to ask Mitrione how much a thigh master was involved in his daily training routine. I am still waiting for Mitrione’s people to get back to me, simmer down Ward.
Many felt that even with the hiccup against Brown, Mitrione had all the tools to put the UFC belt around his waist. However, after the suspect loss to Brown, Mitrione’s UFC contract fell apart during re-negotiations. We now find ourselves watching him ascend the Bellator Heavyweight division. Nelson may prove to be Mitrione’s toughest competition in the tournament. This fight in the tournament will mark Nelson’s first appearance in Bellator since leaving the UFC. Should Mitrione get by Nelson, it is likely that Mitrione could cruise to victory in the tournament.
The last match has Ryan Bader pitted against Muhammed Lawal. This fight may be one of the most intriguing in the tournament. Bader was at one time among the top of the UFC Heavyweight division before suffering a loss to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. However, Bader has a win in Bellator under his belt, and feels he is coming into his own.
Muhammed Lawal aka “King Mo” has other plans for Bader. King Mo is looking right past Bader and feels that no one in the tournament can handle him. He was ringside during the Sonnen’s victory over Rampage and felt neither Sonnen or Rampage was in proper shape. He also had some other choice things to say, none of them flattering. His words cut like a knife. It reminds me of when I go home for the holidays and the entire family tells me that I appear to have gained weight during the course of the year.
With the bracket broken down, we want to know what the fans of MMA think. Is there a place for these types of tournaments? Many critics of the sport say that this tournament is a joke and features aging fighters who are on the decline. I vehemently disagree. I cannot wait to watch the upper echelon of the sport in action.
I think the bracket contains hall of famers who still have more to prove. Let me tell you all a little story about a guy everyone said was done. His name is Mike Tyson. Maybe you have heard of him. After dominating boxing, he went to prison, which we all still call bullshit on! Robin was asking for it, but that is neither here nor there. Spare me the hash tags of “me too” people. The People’s Red Head does not care.
Anyway, cut to 2009, when a little film called The Hangover was released. Mike gets a small role in that film and knocks it out of the park. He proceeds to make amends with many in the boxing world, releases an incredible documentary, and propels himself back into the public eye. Mike remains respected and cherished by fans of the sweet science.
I would say that I appreciate the tournament format Bellator is creating. For one, it is a great way to crown a champion and progress fighters’ rankings. Look at all the interim champion belts being created in the UFC. The entire UFC with the exception of a few weight categories is a mess. No one can sort out the rankings, and the champions get to sit on their belts without defending them in a timely manner. A tournament format is one way to avoid this. Interim titles mean nothing people.
After writing this piece, to prove my point, I am having an interim Red Head Champion belt made for myself. Who have I defeated to win this title you may ask, the answer is the following: Wendy of Wendy’s, Carrot Top, Opie Taylor, Richie Cunningham, Lindsay Lohan, and other gingers. If anyone deserves a title that has little to no meaning, it is me. I have made it through life as a pasty ginger, and live to tell my tale each week on The Weigh-In. You are all welcome.
People’s Red Head out!
Special Thanks To:
Wendy’s (Unofficial Sponsor of The Weigh-In)
Brigade Belts (For Allowing Me to Make a Fake Championship Belt)
www.MMAjunkie.com (For Tournament Formatting Information)