The first semifinal in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix has a date, as Ryan Bader will take on Matt Mitrione October 12 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Tickets for the event go on sale this Friday.
The main card will air live on Paramount Network beginning at 9 p.m. ET with a live stream on DAZN, as well. Prelims will air online and via the Bellator Mobile App.
Mitrione entered Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix fresh off a first-round KO of Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator NYC this past June. Now, following a victory in his first-round matchup with Roy Nelson at Bellator 194, Mitrione advances to meet the always-dangerous Bader. Splitting his training between Indianapolis and Combat Club in South Florida, the Illinois native looks to be in the best shape of his career.
Prior to his MMA career, Mitrione was a standout defensive end at Purdue University who subsequently earned his way into the NFL, playing six seasons as a member of the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings. He ultimately found his way into MMA where he became a high-level competitor, defeating the likes of the late Kimbo Slice, Derrick Lewis and Gabriel Gonzaga.
Bader will make his fourth appearance for Bellator and the first since his 15-second TKO finish of “King Mo” Lawal at Bellator 199, which served as Bader’s first round pairing in the grand prix. Fighting out of Tempe, Ariz., Bader began his professional career by steamrolling the competition en route to a 12-fight unbeaten streak and winning one of the most competitive seasons of The Ultimate Fighter in 2008.
“Darth” continued his path of dominance by collecting 15 victories over some of the 205-pound division’s top talent, including wins over former world champions “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans and Phil Davis twice. The former two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler from Arizona State University will look to become one step closer to being a current two-division Bellator champion on Oct. 12.
The other side of the bracket pits Chael Sonnen vs. Fedor Emelianenko.