Rampage Jackson vs. Chael Sonnen will kick off next year’s Bellator heavyweight tournament.
Earlier this month, Bellator announced that an eight-man heavyweight Grand Prix tournament would take place next year to crown a new heavyweight champion.
The tournament will span over a 12-month period and, yesterday, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani announced the first quarterfinal match-up, as Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Chael Sonnen will kick things off at Bellator 192 on January 20.
Check out the full list of bouts below:
- Quinton Rampage Jackson vs. Chael Sonnen
- Matt Mitrione vs. Roy Nelson
- Ryan Bader vs. Muhammed Lawal
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir
After Jackson and Sonnen get things underway at The Forum in Inglewood, California, Mitrione and Nelson, who fought under the UFC banner in 2012 (Nelson won via first-round knockout), will collide on Feb. 16 in Uncasville, Connecticut. Following that, natural heavyweights Emelianenko and Mir will fight at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois in April, and Bader vs. Lawal will take place in May at Sap Center in San Jose, California.
ESPN announced the last three match-ups in a report on Wednesday.
Bellator 192, which features Jackson vs. Sonnen in the co-main event and Douglas Lima vs. Rory MacDonald in the main event, takes place on Jan. 20 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.