Mitrione (13-5 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) is one of four men remaining in the eight-man tournament that will determine the next Bellator heavyweight champ. “Meathead” meets Ryan Bader (25-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) in his semifinal matchup later this year, while Emelianenko (37-5 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) takes on Chael Sonnen (30-15-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA). If both win their respective bouts, Mitrione knows where – and when – he’d like the finals to take place.
“After I beat Bader, if Fedor is lucky enough to get by Chael, I want to fight Fedor in Moscow,” Mitrione said today in a Facebook Live chat. “I want to fight him. I want to put hands on him. On Christmas, like ‘Rocky.’ Let’s duplicate this (expletive).”
Emelianenko advanced to the semifinals with a 48-second TKO of Frank Mir at Bellator 198 this past month. Mitrione did his part with a majority-decision victory over Roy Nelson at Bellator 194 in February. Both men have difficult semifinal matchups on the horizon, but Mitrione sees the field shaking out with a second fight between him and the former PRIDE champ.
Mitrione already holds an advantage over Emelianenko in that he defeated the Russian by first-round knockout at Bellator NYC last June. He’s apparently willing to give some of that advantage back by fighting Emelianenko in his home country, but first he must handle his business with Bader.
Mitrione said he’s not surprised to be seeing Bader in the semifinals. He predicted the current Bellator light-heavyweight champion would advance pretty easily, although he certainly did not envision the 15-second knockout Bader put on Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal at Bellator 199 this past weekend.
Bader said he feels his grappling will be the major difference in his bout with Mitrione, who doesn’t deny that’s Bader’s best avenue to victory but said he has a plan to stop it.
“I think he was fearless with ‘Mo,’” Mitrione said. “Had no concerns. I think he came in with a different posture, a different type of aggression. With me, he won’t be able to do that. He knows that. I’m highly mobile, and I’ve got a completely different conversation of power than anybody he’s ever fought, especially with small gloves on. I expect him to come out aggressive and try to get on my hips, that’s for certain. I think he’ll do his best to get me pregnant with his hand traps and wrestling traps and all that. But I don’t see that happening.
“I know that he’s a damn good wrestler. I know who he is. I’m not taking this fight as a wrestling match. I’m taking this fight as: I throw hands, and if you get me to the ground good for you. But I’m going to punch you square in the face, Ryan Bader, and I’m going to kick your mouth. You can’t block them all, and all I need is one. We’ll see how that goes.”
Unlike his opening-round opponent Nelson, Mitrione said he actually has a lot of respect for Bader. The pair have an existing relationship dating back to their time in the UFC, where they fought on the same cards and were given similar media obligations.
Mitrione said he’s faltered in the past when fighting friends, specifically when he lost to Brendan Schaub at UFC 165. He said he’s learned how to compartmentalize those feelings, though, and doesn’t expect to have the same problems going into his showdown with Bader later this year.
“I feel I have a very clear mission,” Mitrione said. “I know what I’m coming to accomplish. I know how I’m going to accomplish it, and I know how it’s relevant for me in my life. Before, titles and whatever else weren’t very realistic. I think I’ve modified that enough where I have no problem punching anyone in the face.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Matt Mitrione: After beating Ryan Bader, I want grand-prix finals rematch with Fedor in Russia