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February 15, 2018

Bellator 194 Preview: Heavyweight Grand Prix Edition

Bellator 194: Mitrione vs. Nelson 2; The Preview

Travis Lizotte

Bellator MMA returns to the Mohegan Sun arena Friday night February 16th as two storied Heavyweights take center stage when former Ultimate Fighter 16 finalists; Matt “Meathead” Mitrione (12-5) and Roy “Big Country” Nelson (23-14) square off for the second time in their careers, this time with the second round of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament in their sights. Bellator ‘s Heavyweight tournament will eventually crown a new Heavyweight World Champion, a tournament which kicks off with Mitrione as the odds on favorite to win Bellator Gold, despite Mitrione’s first round knockout loss, in his first meeting with Roy Nelson nearly five years ago. Matt Mitrione is now a nearly 2-1 favorite to claim redemption against the hard hitting Nelson and advance to the second round of the tournament. Roy Nelson however, likes to let his hands do the talking and would love to repeat his first performance against Mitrione and walk away with yet another knockout of the former professional football player. As always when two powerful Heavyweights take to the cage, anything could happen and happen in a hurry and these two guys are out for blood as well as their shot at the Bellator Heavyweight Crown!

In the night’s Co-Main event talented Lightweights Patricky “Pitbull” Freire (18-8) and Derek “The Stallion” Campos (19-6) will finally meet in the Bellator cage after their three prior bouts were scrapped due to injuries to both men. This is as fight that has been almost two years in the making as both men were scheduled to settle their score at Bellator 152, 167 and 181 before all three attempts were cancelled. Patricky is currently on a two fight win streak that includes wins against former UFC stars; Benson Henderson (Split Decision at Bellator 183) and Josh Thompson (Second round Knockout at Bellator 172). Campos comes in with an impressive four fight win streak of his own including knockouts of both Brandon Girtz (Bellator 181) and Melvin Guillard (Bellator 149) as well as decision victories over Djamil Chan (Bellator 161) and Derek Anderson (Bellator 170). This is a fight that could very easily take home fight of the night honors as these fighters have been looking to settle this score for a long while now, and both men are most than capable of ending the fight early and in dramatic fashion.
Former Bellator Light-Heavyweight Champion Liam McGeary (12-2) will be looking to bounce back into the Light-Heavyweight title picture after coming up short in two of his last three contests including a Unanimous Decision loss to Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis (at Bellator 163) in which McGeary would relinquish his title to the former UFC star Davis. McGeary starts his march back to glory at Bellator 194 when he locks horns with Russia’s Vadim Nemkov (8-2) who carries a three fight win streak with him to the Bellator cage as he looks to upset the former Champion; McGeary.
The Main Card rounds out with two more exciting fights; first; fan favorite and fromer boxing beauty; Heather “The Heat” Hardy (1-1) will look to bounce back off her first career loss, a Knockout suffered at the hands of Kristina Williams at Bellator 185, as she welcomes Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton (2-3) back to the Mohegan Sun arena, where Julaton lost a close split-decision to New England’s own Lisa “Insane” Blaine on the same Bellator 185 card. And Second; Florida’s Ty-wan “Speedy” Claxton (1-0) intends to keep his record in the sport unscathed as Claxton is 8-0 in his first eight MMA bouts including first round Knockout of Jonny Bonilla-Bowman at Bellator 186 in his professional debut. Standing across the cage from Claxton will be New Jersey’s Jose Perez (0-1) who suffered a Unanimous Decision loss to Kevin Carrier in his professional debut at Bellator 185 but will be looking to get himself in the win column as he sets his sights on upsetting the wrestler Claxton, when the fighters kick off the Paramount Network Televised portion of the Bellator 194 fight card and look to do so in style.
As always Bellator 194’s undercard features some of the most promising names in the region as New England stars; Pat Casey (7-2 Amateur) and Tyler Hamilton (1-0 Professional) square off in a highly anticipated Lightweight bout. Also Connecticut’s Michael “The Savage” Kimbel (4-4 Amateur) will be welcomed to the Professional ranks by fellow Connecticut native and Bellator Veteran; Geoffrey Then (1-1 Professional). Then’s American Top Team Connecticut Teammate; Kastriot Xhema (1-1) will be making his return to the Bellator cage looking to bounce back into the win column after Tom Regal stopped Xhema in the first round with punches at Bellator 182 in August. New England stars will take center stage as  part of seven preliminary fights leading up to a star studded main-card live from Mohegan Sun Arena as Bellator 194 invades the New England MMA scene this Friday night!      

Official Fight Card Below (Fight order subject to change):
Weights in parenthesis are official weigh-in results:
Undercard 6:30pm:

Tyler Hamilton 1-0 (154.5) v. Pat Casey Debut (155.5)

Peter Nascimento Debut (163.5) v. Kastriot Xhema 1-1 (164.5)
Catchweight (165)

Marcus Surin 4-1 (156) v. Dean Hancock 3-1 (155.25)

Walter Howard 3-4 (203) v. Jarod Trice 2-0 (205.5)
Light- Heavyweight

Regivaldo Carvalho 4-2 (145) v. Tom English 6-8 (146)

Michael Kimbel Debut (135.75) v. Geoffrey Then 1-1 (135)

Ross Richardson Debut (155.5) v. Ronie Arana Leon Debut (156)

Main Card Live on Paramount Network 9 pm:

Ty-wan Claxton 1-0 (145) v. Jose Antonio Perez 0-1 (142)

Heather Hardy 1-1 (126) v. Ana Julaton 2-3 (125)
Women’s Flyweight

Liam McGeary 12-2 (203.75) v. Vadim Nemkov 8-2 (205)

Patricky Pitbull 18-8 (155) v. Derek Campos 19-6 (154)

Matt Mitrione 12-5 (255) v. Roy Nelson 23-14 (265)