Matt Mitrione progressed to the semi-final of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, as he avenged a December 2012 TKO defeat to Roy Nelson.
Though he endured a rough final round, Mitrione had already banked the first two stanza’s on all three judges’ scorecards with a tidy kickboxing display that saw him land some beautiful uppercuts with the lead hand and a host of well-timed inside leg kicks. Still, one judge felt that Nelson did enough to secure a 10-8 round in that third session, as he hauled Mitrione to the floor and controlled things from top position. At one point late in the round, Nelson moved into the crucifix and rained down shots on Mitrione. Even from this extremely dominant position, however, Nelson never did any significant damage.
In the end, the scorecards read 29-28, 29-28, and 28-28, giving Mitrione a majority decision win.
Mitrione(13-5) has now won four fights in a row since joining Bellator from the UFC in 2016. Nelson(23-15), who joined Bellator from the UFC last year and scored a decision win over Javy Ayala in his promotional debut, drops to 1-1 in the Bellator cage.
In the semi-final, Mitrione will meet the winner of the quarter-final showdown between Ryan Bader and Muhammad Lawal, which takes place in San Jose in May.
Elsewhere on the card, Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire(19-8) scored his third straight win and his fifth in six fights by halting Derek Campos(19-7) in the first. This was Freire’s second stoppage win over Campos, whom he finished 52 seconds into the second round of an April 2014 clash. Heather Hardy unanimously outpointed fellow professional boxer Ana Julaton(2-4) to move to 2-1 in Bellator, the promotion in which she has fought all of her pro-MMA fights. While at 205lbs, Russia’s Vadim Nemkov(9-2) secured the biggest win of his career thus far, chopping down former Bellator light-heavyweight champ Liam McGeary(12-3) with a consistent and ferocious leg-kick attack to score a third-round stoppage. It was Nemkov’s second win in Bellator and his fourth straight since an unsuccessful spell in Rizin FF that saw him lose back-to-back fights. McGeary has now lost three of his last four.
You can watch the highlights from the show below…