The New Year will herald the return of the increasingly rare tournament format in MMA.
The one-night tournament format comprised the early structure of the UFC during the wild days of the 1990s. Though modern iterations spread the action out over the course of up to a year, the more established format of world championship titles reigns supreme.
Bellator MMA have held four man one-night grand prix’s in recent years, but have been without a heavyweight king since May of 2016. While still adhering to the world title doctrine, Bellator, rather than having a mere title fight, will pit eight fighters against each other in 2018.
A more feasible arrangement than a one-night extravaganza will begin early in the New Year in order to crown a new Bellator heavyweight champion, as announced by promotion president Scott Coker via MMAJunkie.
As the first heavyweight tournament since 2014, the Bellator MMA World Grand Prix 2018 will see legends and present stars alike face-off at seven different events, with a view to the final taking place in December.
As for the participants, six former UFC stars will join the legendary Fedor Emelianenko and ‘King’ Muhammed Lawal.
Matt Mitrione, who defeated Fedor by TKO earlier this year, will be one of the favourites alongside Ryan Bader, the current Bellator light-heavyweight champion. Natural 205-pounders also come in the form of trash talk god Chael Sonnen and former UFC champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir and ‘Ultimate Fighter’ season 10 winner Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson round out the contenders, with the draw taking place soon.
Though this would have been a must-watch at the start of the decade, with intriguing match-ups possible plus some very contrasting personalities on show, it will nonetheless make for entertaining viewing.