Sport

Bellator eight-man heavyweight tourney to include Fedor Emelianenko, Chael Sonnen

Bellator eight-man heavyweight tourney to include Fedor Emelianenko, Chael Sonnen”

The tournament, dubbed Bellator MMA World Grand Prix, will unfold over the course of 2018, with the finals hopefully taking place prior to the end of the year.

MMA legend and former PRIDE champion Fedor Emelianenko is joined by former UFC heavyweight kingpin Frank Mir, and former UFC heavyweights Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione.

Additionally, the four light-heavyweight participants are current Bellator 205-pound champ Ryan Bader (24-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), former UFC champ Quinton Jackson (37-12 MMA, 4-1 BMMA), ex-Strikeforce titleholder Muhammed Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-4 BMMA) and multi-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA).

Following a period of more than three years without a heavyweight title bout, the Californian promotion will change that with an eight-man tournament featuring some expected and some frankly surprising names. "I can't wait to get back in the cage and put on exciting fights for both the "Rampage" and Bellator fans". The victor of this tournament will earn the vacant Bellator title.

"This is going to be something that's iconic for us", Coker said to MMAJunkie.

The promotion has been without a heavyweight champion since the title was vacated by then-champ Vitaly Minakov after Bellator made a decision to stripped him of it in May of 2016 for failing to defend the title. "Believe me, we're going to have some unbelievable matchups in this tournament. These are iconic names, big brands". - Quinton Jackson via official Bellator press release. Sandwiched in between that run was a one-off UFC return in 2015 when he defeated Fabio Maldonado. The final is tentatively scheduled for December 2018. Tournament bouts will be spaced out, one per event, over a seven-card stretch. Jackson will make his return to Bellator early next year, adding to an ever-growing roster of big names that the promotion has added to their fold.

"With "Rampage" Jackson, you know what you're going to get every time he steps inside the Bellator cage - an exciting fight and interest from fans all over the world", Bellator president Scott Coker said. "The heavyweight grand prix is a flawless example of that".



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