Matt Mitrione: Chael Sonnen 'a tough fight for Fedor,' defends Frank Mir's loss

Matt Mitrione must get through the winner of Saturday's Bellator 199 main event between Ryan Bader and Muhammed Lawal first, but he has a tough time bottling his excitement when looking ahead to a potential rematch with Fedor Emelianenko in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix. Mitrione (13-5 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) already punched his ticket to the tournament semifinals with a with over Roy Nelson at Bellator 194 in February. He will fight the winner of Bader (24-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) and Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-4 BMMA) next, with the winner advancing to the finals where either Emelianenko (37-5 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) or Chael Sonnen (30-15-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) will be waiting. In his most recent fight prior to tournament, Mitrione beat Emelianenko by first-round knockout at Bellator NYC in June. He said he was pleased to see the former PRIDE champion win his opening-round matchup against Frank Mir at Bellator 198, and if each man can tally one more win, a rematch will be made.

RelatedWatch Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal go off about Matt Mitrione's 'b*tch ass' before Bellator 199 Mitrione thinks a rematch with Emelianenko would be a big deal, but he's not discounting Sonnen's ability to win, either. “I was really happy to see that Fedor won,” Mitrione told MMAjunkie. “I'm glad Fedor won. I think it was good for me and I think it would be fun to fight him again. I'd be really happy if he made it to the finals. But I feel Chael is going to be kind of a tough fight for Fedor. Chael's a bulldog. He dives on the hips and he stays there and he's relentless as far as getting the takedown. It may be a tougher fight for Fedor than what people give Chael credit for. We'll see. Heavyweight power is a totally different conversation.” Although Mitrione had high praise for Emelianenko, he made a point to address Mir (18-12 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) after the loss. The former UFC heavyweight champion returned from a more than two-year layoff for the fight and was quickly caught for a 48-second knockout. Quick fights happen – especially in the heavyweight division – and despite not producing his best effort, Mitrione said Mir is deserving of praise, and is an opponent he'd like to share the cage with sooner than later.

RelatedMatt Mitrione says Ryan Bader will work 'King Mo' at Bellator 199, has choice words for Roy Nelson “I want to express this: I haven't fought Frank yet, but I plan on doing it,” Mitrione said. “Most people say Frank is done. Frank's not done, he just hasn't fought in two years. That's a long-ass time. He didn't even have a warm-up fight, a tune-up fight. He went in and fought Fedor for Christ's sake. That's a big, tall-ass order for someone who hasn't fought in a couple of years. “His body looked good. He just has to get in there and get some rust off. So I think Frank will do a great job for Bellato…

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