Ryan Bader and Fedor Emelianenko will meet in the Bellator heavyweight grand prix final – according to the current odds, anyway.
Bellator officials recently announced the dates and locations for the two semifinal-round bouts, which take place on back-to-back nights in October. The current betting lines have clear favorites in each matchup.
Famed heavyweight and former longtime PRIDE champion Emelianenko (37-5 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) meets Chael Sonnen (31-15-1 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) in Bellator 208’s Paramount-televised headliner, which takes place Oct. 13 at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. A day prior, Bader (25-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), Bellator’s reigning light-heavyweight champion, meets Matt Mitrione (13-5 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) in Bellator 207’s main event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
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The winners then meet – likely in early 2019 – and the victor claims the organization’s vacant heavyweight title.
That means Bader could become a two-division champ for Bellator. Currently, he’s a -215 favorite over +165 underdog Mitrione to pull off the win.
At those odds, a winning $100 bet on Bader would earn a net profit of $46.51 (implied win probability of 68.3 percent). A winning $100 bet on Mitrione, meanwhile, would net a profit of $165 (37.7 percent win probability).
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Mitrione was the favorite in his previous four fights, all of which came under the Bellator banner. The last time he was an underdog, Mitrione (+150) suffered a TKO loss to Travis Brown (-170) at UFC Fight Night 81. Meanwhile, the last time Bader was an underdog – against Phil Davis (-125) at Bellator 180 – he pulled off a slight upset as a +105 underdog to win his light-heavyweight belt via split decision.
Emelianenko (-240), meanwhile, is a sizable favorite over Sonnen (+180). A winning $100 bet on Emelianenko would result in a net profit of $41.67; a winning Sonnen bet, meanwhile, would score you $180 in profit.
Both Emelianenko and Sonnen pulled off upsets in the opening round of the tourney. Emelianenko (+125) swiftly put away Frank Mir while Sonnen (+170) edged Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Regardless of the winner, expect the Bader-Mitrione winner to open as the favorite over the Emelianenko-Sonnen victor in the tourney final.
For more on Bellator 207 and Bellator 208, check out the MMA rumors section of the site.