The finals are now set for the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, as Fedor Emelianenko (MMA Record: 38–5 [1 NC]) will take on Ryan Bader on January 26th, 2019 in Inglewood, CA.
At tonight’s Bellator 208 event at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, Fedor Emelianenko defeated Chael Sonnen (MMA Record: 31-16-1) via first-round TKO to advance to the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Emelianenko advanced to the semifinals when he defeated Frank Mir via T.K.O. at Bellator 198 in Rosemont, Illinois.
This will mark Fedor’s first fight in Southern California in 10 years. On January 24th, 2009, Fedor defeated Andrei Arlovski for the WAMMA Heavyweight Championship at Affliction: Day of Reckoning in Anaheim, CA.
Emelianenko will now move on to the finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix to face the current Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion, Ryan Bader.
On Friday night in Uncasville, Connecticut at Bellator 207, Bader (MMA Record: 26-5) picked up a dominant Unanimous Decision victory over Matt Mitrione (MMA Record: 13-5) to advance to the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Bader advanced to the semifinals when he defeated Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal via T.K.O. at Bellator 199 on May 12th, 2018 in San Jose, CA.
The winner of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix will also win the Bellator Heavyweight Championship, which has been vacant since May 14, 2016, after the previous champion, Vitaly Minakov, was stripped of the title due to inactivity. Vitaly Minakov won the title on November 15th, 2013 in Atlantic City, New Jersey when he defeated Alexander Volkov. Minakov’s only title defense took place at Bellator 115 on April 4th, 2014 where he defeated Cheick Kongo.
This past August, Minakov (MMA Record: 21-0) re-signed with Bellator. According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Bellator CEO Scott Coker said the tentative plan would be for him to fight once before fighting the winner of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.
The finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix take place on January 26th, 2019 at the Forum in Inglewood, CA.
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