It all goes down later tonight (Sat., April 28, 2018) at Bellator 198 live on Paramount Network from inside Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., as former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko takes on former UFC kingpin Frank Mir in a matchup that’s been 10 years in the making.
Umm…the main event!
While Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Mir are not what they used to be, this is a tantalizing matchup that many people wish had happened nearly a decade ago. But with Fedor competing in PRIDE in Japan and Mir slicing through competition under UFC rule, their paths never crossed.
Leave it up to Bellator president Scott Coker to drum up the past and throw it on national television for free. That’s exactly what fight fans are getting tonight when “Last Emperor” looks to rebound from a knockout loss to Matt Mitrione last year and Mir aims to capture his first victory since 2015 in his first ever Bellator appearance.
Also, not to be overshadowed by this glorious matchup of mixed martial arts (MMA) legends, the winner of Fedor vs. Mir will move on to fight Chael Sonnen in the semi-final round of Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament
Streaking middleweight contender John Salter was originally scheduled to fight Rafael Lovato Jr. on the main card, but was removed due to an eye issue. Salter was replaced by former UFC veteran Gerald Harris, who will now fight Lovato Jr. at a catchweight of 188 pounds.
The long-awaited MMA debut of jiu-jitsu prodigy and Conor McGregor teammate Dillon Danis (0-0) will finally go down tonight at Bellator 198. As one of the most highly-touted prospects in all of MMA — due in most to his grappling ability — Danis will look to cash in on a main card spot opposite unknown middleweight Kyle Walker (2-3).
Considering Danis is already taking a page out of McGregor’s long book of tricks and proclaiming himself the king of Bellator MMA, his debut should be very interesting to watch. Danis should have no trouble bringing over his submission skills into the cage, but it’s yet to be seen if the 24-year-old blue chip prospect can do any damage with his hands.
Training alongside a world champion like “Notorious” may help him greatly in that department.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
While Frank Mir has dropped his last two fights to Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski and could really use a win in his Bellator MMA debut, it is Fedor Emelianenko who desperately needs victory this weekend in Rosemont. If not to win the grudge match with Mir then to prolong his tenure in Bellator.
Despite losing to Matt Mitrione in devastating fashion last year in New York City and falling victim to his first knockout defeat since 2011, “Last Emperor” still commands incredible allure heading into Bellator 198. But back-to-back loses to start his promotional career isn’t going to bode well for Fedor’s selling ability entering the second half of 2018. Hardcore fight fans will always want to see him compete for as long as he’s fighting, but casual fans will find it difficult to get behind a main event attraction that always loses, especially if they’re unaware of the Russian’s legendary resume.
Interest Level: 9/10
Even if Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir was the only matchup on this card you’d still want to tune in and watch. The heavyweight clash will not only spit out the third semi-finalist for Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament, but it will provide some insight into the long-time comparison between PRIDE fighters and UFC fighters. Fedor and Mir are long removed from their prime, but they remain worthy fighters capable of producing memorable fireworks inside of the cage.
Adding to the main card madness will be Dillon Danis’ anticipated MMA debut, a co-main event clash between top featherweight contender Emmanuel Sanchez and former UFC knockout artist Sam Sicilia, and another look at the undefeated Neiman Gracie.
Bellator 198 Main Card (9 p.m. ET)
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir
- Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Sam Sicilia
- Gerald Harris vs. Rafael Lovato Jr.
- Neiman Gracie vs. Javier Torres
- Dillon Danis vs. Kyle Walker
Bellator 198 ‘Prelims’ (7 p.m. ET)
- James Bennett vs. Dustin Stusse
- Tom Angeloff vs. Sultan Umar
- Adam Maciejewski vs. Robert Morrow
- Adil Benjilany vs. Corey Jackson
- Dan Stittgen vs. Mark Stoddard
- Morgan Sickinger vs. Eric Wisely
- Joey Diehl vs. Nate Williams
- Asef Askar vs. Andrew Johnson
- P.J. Cajigas vs. R’Mandel Cameron