Ryan Bader Dominates Matt Mitrione, Advances to Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Final

Ryan Bader
Ryan Bader's predictable run through the Bellator heavyweight tournament continued against Matt Mitrione.

Ryan Bader Post-Fight Interview

The semi-final round of Bellator’s heavyweight Grand Prix concluded on Saturday. Fedor Emelianenko defeated Chael Sonnen by heavy ground and pound in the first round of the Bellator 208 main event. The Russian legend advances to face Ryan Bader in the Grand Prix finals.

Bader Beatdown at Mohegan

Bader defeated Matt Mitrione one day earlier at Bellator 207 in Uncasville, Connecticut inside the Mohegan Sun Arena. The former ASU wrestler scored multiple wrestled 10-8 rounds to earn a lopsided unanimous decision victory.

Mitrione struggled from the opening bell to establish himself on the feet, let alone his range. It took a matter of seconds before Bader shot in and successfully brought his opponent to the mat. Once on the mat, Bader refused to relinquish control. Although it seemed that simple, the two time All-American wrestler systematically tore through the brute strength attempts of Mitrione to create a scramble.

Flawless Performance

The performance was flawless. Mitrione’s accumulated time over three rounds on two feet added up to less than 1 minute. This dominant display was topped off by a staggering 0 strikes absorbed. Bader effectively shut down Matt Mitrione.

“I am not going to go in there and with a 255 [pound] heavyweight. That his bread and butter is being quick and throwing bombs. For me going in here, I haven’t been hit this whole tournament. I haven’t been hit in the face in the [King Mo] fight, I haven’t been hit in the face in the Mitrione fight and I am in the finals of the Grand Prix. That was a dominant performance, went out there, used that grappling and mauled him.”

While this display of dominance shined bright inside the cage, it didn’t in the minds of attending fans. Boos rang loud and consistent halfway through the opening round. They persisted and sprung back to life with each round beginning takedown. For Bader, the noise outside the cage could matter less. He pays no mind to the sounds coming from the stands.

“That was a mauling. Those 10-8 rounds against the best heavyweight in the division. I haven’t been hit in this tournament. I haven’t been punched in the face in two fights against some of the best people in the world. They [are] both top 10. Matt Mitrione is a top 5 heavyweight in the world, doesn’t matter what promotion. If not higher. He goes out there and beats guys like Derrick Lewis. [Lewis] is fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship of the world. I think Matt Mitrione goes in there and smokes him. I don’t care about those boos at all.”

Heavyweight Grand Prix Finals

Late Friday night, after his dominant win, Bader declared his desired opponent for the finals. When asked the question, which he’d rather face; Fedor or Sonnen? He quickly pondered before claiming Fedor as his desired dance partner for the Grand Prix finals.

“If I am picking for the whole mystique and nostalgia of it, I am picking Fedor. To win the Heavyweight Grand Prix, the title, being a two-division champion and do it beating Fedor, it doesn’t get any bigger than that. That being said, they’re so different. I know what I am going to get with Chael, with Fedor he has that mystique, you never know what he’s going to do in there. He throws bombs, he’s great on the ground so if I have my choice it would be Fedor.”

Bader got his wish when Fedor smushed Sonnen with his Russian gut and plowed away at his face with shovel-like fists. It’s just another piece falling into place for Ryan Bader in his new world of Bellator MMA.


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