Bellator 198: Fedor, Mir Look to Rebound & Move Toward Title
The Bellator heavyweight grand prix will run through the Windy City on April 28, as Bellator 198 takes place from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois — a little more than a half-hour away from Chicago.
The main event of the evening will see the third first-round match in Bellator’s tournament to crown a new heavyweight champion. The legendary Fedor Emelianenko will make his second appearance in the Bellator cage — his first since a first-round TKO loss to Matt Mitrione at Bellator NYC last June. His opponent, making his Bellator debut, will be former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir.
The loss to Mitrione snapped a five-fight win streak for “The Last Emperor” — the latter two coming after he took a three-year hiatus from MMA. Emelianenko will look to avoid consecutive losses for the first time since his days in Strikeforce in 2010-11, where he lost three bouts in a row to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Dan Henderson.
Meanwhile, Mir, who has lost two straight, will be competing in an MMA bout for the first time since a loss to Mark Hunt at a UFC Fight Night in March 2016. Following the bout, Mir was suspended for two years by USADA after testing positive for oral turinabol metabolites. Mir was granted his UFC release in July 2017 and signed with Bellator one month later.
The winner of the Emelianenko-Mir tournament bout will face Chael Sonnen in the semifinals.
In the featherweight co-main event, Emmanuel Sanchez faces Sam Sicilia. Sanchez has made his mark in Bellator’s 145-pound division since debuting for the promotion in late 2014. The Team Roufusport product is 16-3 as a professional and has won three straight — with his last two wins coming against former Bellator featherweight champions Daniel Straus and Marcos Galvao. He’ll hope for another big victory, one that can possibly secure him a title shot in the near future.
A UFC veteran and The Ultimate Fighter alum, Sicilia’s pro career has been shaky since joining the UFC with a 10-1 record at the start of 2012. Sicilia went 5-7 in the UFC, losing his last three before being cut in May 2017. Sicilia made his Bellator debut back at Bellator 189 in December, defeating Galvao. A win against Sanchez may prove to be a rebound he needs.
In a 188-pound catchweight contest, the 7-0 Rafael Lovato Jr. will look to continue his winning ways, as he faces Gerald Harris, an MMA veteran coming out of retirement for this bout, with experience in promotions such as the UFC, WSOF, and DREAM. Harris, taking this fight on days’ notice, will be competing in Bellator for the first time at the event.
Neiman Gracie, the great-grandson of Carlos Gracie, will also look to continue his 7-0 run when he faces Javier Torres at welterweight. In the card’s opening bout, Dillon Danis faces Kyle Walker in a 175-pound catchweight bout.
Watch the Bellator 198 press conference below: