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Bellator 207: Mitrione vs. Bader fight card preview

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Bellator 207 is set to kick off from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut headlined with heavyweight Grand Prix matchup pitting the streaking Matt Mitrione against the promotions light heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader. The winner of this matchup will advance to face the winner of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen, which takes place the following evening. In the co-main slot, a war between two longtime MMA vets will be showcased as the 23-15 Roy Nelson gets it on with 28-7 Sergei Kharitonov.

Also on the card, 3-1 Baby Slice, Kevin Ferguson Jr. makes his lightweight debut as he takes on the 3-2 Corey Browning. Before that, wrestling standout Carrington Banks looks to bounce back from his first career loss as he faces undefeated Mandel Nallo. Kicking off the main card will be the returning Lorenz Larkin taking on the well-traveled Ion Pascu. Check out the breakdowns of these matchups below, and be sure to check out The MMA Vivisection with Bloody Elbow’s own Zane Simon, Victor Rodriguez, and Eddie Mercado.

Bellator 207 takes place this Friday, October 12th, and will air live on the Paramount Network at 9:00 P.M. ET. The prelims will begin at 8:00 P.M. ET.

Main card:

Matt Mitrione (13-5 MMA; 4-0 Bellator) vs. Ryan Bader (25-5 MMA; 3-0 Bellator): Heavyweight GP

Matt Mitrione is currently undefeated inside of the Bellator promotion, earning three-straight finishes before securing a majority decision over Roy Nelson in the opening round of the heavyweight GP. One of those finishes, MMA great Fedor Emelianenko. Mitrione has always been an agile true-heavyweight, who typically enjoys a bit of a speed advantage, which really aids him in landing his heavy hands. With his typical speed advantage not being so pronounced here, can Mitrione adapt and find a way to land, all while avoiding the takedown?

Bellator’s light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader is arguably the fighter that is closest to his prime out of everyone in the heavyweight GP. Bader has gone 10-1 in his last 11 fights dating all the way back to his UFC days in 2013, and is currently riding a five-fight winning streak. Four out of those last five fights have ended inside of the distance, including his recent 15 second knockout of King Mo in the quarter finals of the heavyweight GP. Bader has seemed to really come into his own, and size is really the only thing he has working against him here.

Roy Nelson (23-15 MMA; 1-1 Bellator) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (28-7 MMA; 1-1 Bellator): Heavyweight

After picking up a unanimous decision over Javy Ayala in his Bellator debut, Roy Nelson got booted out of the opening round of the heavyweight GP by Matt Mitrione. Nelson looked to lean on his grappling and takedowns to get the win, but Mitrione accumulated enough strikes to be awarded the decision. At age 42, does Nelson have any more of those overhand rights up his sleeve?

Sergei Kharitonov is returning to Bellator following his initial 1-1 splash into the promotion. Recently, has been reeking havoc on the Russian circuit, picking up wins over veterans Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Joey Beltran. Now riding a four-fight winning streak, will Kharitonov be able to keep the momentum rolling by getting past a tough out like Roy Nelson?

Kevin Ferguson Jr. (3-1 MMA/Bellator) vs. Corey Browning (3-2 MMA; Bellator Debut): Lightweight

Baby Slice will be back in the cage as he makes his first official lightweight appearance. After dropping his pro/promotional debut, by submission, Ferguson has finished three-straight opponents in the opening round. Looking to spoil Baby Slice’s 155 pound debut, Corey Bollinger is trying to get himself back into the win column following back to back submission losses. With 3-1 vs. 3-2, anything is possible.

Carrington Banks (7-1 MMA; 3-1 Bellator) vs. Mandel Nallo (6-0 MMA; 1-0 Bellator): Lightweight

Carrington Banks is looking to bounce back after suffering the first loss of his young career at the hands of Adam Piccolotti. Expect Banks to lean on his physicality and collegiate wrestling pedigree to try and grind out his opponent. Looking to keep the wrestling prospect down is undefeated Mandel Nallo, who won his promotional debut with a swift 18 second head kick knockout. Which one of these up and comers will advance to the next level and which one will be left behind to regroup?

Lorenz Larkin (19-7 MMA; 1-2 Bellator) vs. Ion Pascu (18-8 MMA; 0-1 Bellator): Welterweight

Lorenz Larkin was off to a bit of a rocky start to begin his Bellator career, dropping consecutive losses, first to Douglas Lima and then to Paul Daley. Larkin would rebound, however, using his polished striking to pick up a unanimous decision over the always game Fernando Gonzalez. Could this be the perfect fight for Larkin to gain some steam to make another run at the top?

Ion Pascu has seen a lot of success on the BAMMA circuit, posting a 5-1 record with the league. In his lone Bellator appearance, Pascu dropped a unanimous decision to wrestling prospect Ed Ruth at Bellator 196 this past April, but rebounded with one of those BAMMA wins to get back on track. Larkin is a handful for anyone, but will Pascu be up to the task?


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