ROSEMONT, Ill. — MMA fans and pundits were saying prior to his main-event fight Saturday vs. Frank Mir that Fedor Emelianenko should have hung up the gloves after his first-round knockout loss to Matt Mitrione in June.
The fighter regarded by many as the greatest of all time then showed those people he has plenty more in the tank. Emelianenko defeated Mir by TKO at 48 seconds of the first round at Allstate Arena to advance to the semifinals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Saturday's bout almost played out like the Mitrione fight after Mir rocked Emelianenko with a right hand. Mir wasn't able to capitalize, though, and Emelianenko had enough presence of mind to grab Mir and throw him to the canvas. Mir quickly made it back to his feet and threw a left and right hand, but Emelianenko connected on a short right hand followed by another left and right.
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Mir came lunging forward, and Emelianenko blasted him with a left hand. Realizing the end was near, Emelianenko jumped on top of Mir and landed a series of left hands. Referee Mike Beltran quickly put a stop to the fight.
After the fight, Emelianenko's semifinal opponent, Chael Sonnen came into the cage and confronted "The Last Emperor."
"I think the only thing I hate more than being right here in Chicago is being in here with you," Sonnen told Emelianenko. "I assure you, the next time I am, it will not be for long."
It is unknown when Emelianenko and Sonnen will fight, but sources have told Sporting News the plan is for the middle of the summer.
The win is the first for Emelianenko (37-5) under the Bellator banner. Mir (18-12) suffered his first loss in the promotion
Here is what happened at Bellator 198: Fedor vs. Mir.
(All times Eastern.)
Bellator 198: Fedor vs. Mir results
11:21: A great ovation for Mir, but a thunderous ovation for Emelianenko. It's deafening inside the arena. Everyone is standing. What a moment.
11:17: The main event of Bellator 198 is upon us. Fedor Emelianenko will battle Frank Mir in the quarterfinals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix. Emelianenko (36-5), who has won four of his last five fights, looks to rebound after losing his Bellator debut to Matt Mitrione by first-round TKO. Mir (18-11) will be making his Bellator debut. He is coming off a two-year suspension after his loss to Mark Hunt in March 2016.
This is a fight between two of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Does Emelianenko have one more run in him? Can Mir get a new lease on life in a different promotion? We are about to find out.
Emmanuel Sanchez wins by first-round submission over Sam Sicilia to net a likely title shot.
10:55: Sanchez defeats Sicilia by submission (arm-triangle choke) at 3:52 of the first round. We said this fight would be all-action, and it lived up to the billing. Sanchez and Sicilia traded heavy shots from the outset. With Sicilia against the cage, Sanchez secured a standing arm-triangle and was squeezing Sicilia's neck with everything he had. Realizing he needed to drop to his back and to secure the hold deeper, Sanchez went down to mat; Sicilia had nowhere to go and had no choice but to tap out.
This was a great performance by Sanchez and one that should net him a title shot against the winner of the July bout between champion Patricio Freire and Daniel Weichel. It's hard to deny a fighter who has won four consecutive fights and seven of his last eight.
We've now had four submissions in four fights tonight. Jiu-jitsu is reigning supreme. I have never seen this in a main card at a major MMA show.
10:40: Coming up next at Bellator 198: In featherweight action, Emmanuel Sanchez will fight Sam Sicilia. Sanchez (16-3) has won six of his last seven fights, including three in row. After losing his last three fights, Sicilia (16-8) got back on track in his Bellator debut in December by defeating Marcos Galvao by unanimous decision. This should be an all-action fight. Both guys love standing in the middle of the cage and leaving it all there. It's a great appetizer before the main event.
Rafael Lovato Jr. nearly breaks Gerald Harris' arm to earn a submission victory.
10:28: Lovato defeated Harris by submission (armbar) at 1:11 of the first round. Harris came out running at Lovato and nailed him with a flying knee. To Lovato's credit, he quickly recovered. After a short grappling exchange, he was able to roll over, take Harris' arm and immediately lock in the armbar. He nearly broke the arm as Harris quickly tapped out.
Lovato improves to 8-0, with seven of those wins by submission. He should get the winner of the middleweight title fight at Bellator 200 between champion Rafael Carvalho and Gegard Mousasi. I like how Lovato cut a babyface promo on how his dad is from the south side of Chicago. The crowd ate it up. More fighters should take notice of how easy it can be to do a promo.
That's three submissions in three fights. Let's see if the run can continue.
10:15: Coming up at Bellator 198: Rafael Lovato Jr. will face Gerald Harris in a catchweight fight at 188 pounds. Lovato is undefeated in seven fights, including his first three fights in Bellator. Most recently, he defeated Chris Honeycutt by unanimous decision in December. Harris (25-5) had retired from the sport and was sitting on his couch eating doughnuts when Bellator called Tuesday to ask him to replace the injured John Salter. Harris said no at first, but called back a short time later and took the bout.
This is a win-win for Harris: He returns to the main stage and, even if he loses, will get a lot of credit for accepting the fight.
Neiman Gracie chokes out Javier Torres.
9:56: Gracie defeats Torres by submission (arm triangle choke) at 3:18 of the second round. The first round didn't go the way Gracie wanted. He struggled taking Torres down, and when he finally did get him to the mat with about 90 seconds left he didn't do too much with it. In the second round, Gracie let his hands go and backed Torres up into the cage. Once that happened, Gracie got Torres down to the ground. Gracie slowly got into mount and then slid the choke on, and then quickly went to side control to apply more pressure. Torres quickly tapped out.
This was a solid win for Gracie, but he also showed a lot of holes. His striking improved but it's still very sloppy. He cannot go in recklessly against top competition the way he did tonight. His ground game is something to watch, but while Torres deserves credit for good jiu-jitsu defense, someone who is one of the best in the world needs to be more crisp.
9:38: Up next: Neiman Gracie goes up against Javier Torres in a welterweight bout. Gracie is undefeated in seven career fights, including his last five under the Bellator banner. Torres (10-3) comes in unbeaten in his last five fights. The name of the game for Gracie is jiu-jitsu; he has won his last three bouts by submission. This will be his hardest fight to date. Torres has won four fights by submission, so Gracie will have to have to mix up his attack in order to win.
Dillon Danis nearly snaps Kyle Walker's foot off to win MMA debut.
9:25: Danis defeats Walker by submission (toe hold) at 1:38 of the first round. The fight didn't start well for Danis as Walker connected on a couple right hands. To Danis' credit, he pulled guard and was able to grab Walker's leg and trip him to the mat. Once the fight got to the ground, Walker was in Danis' world. Danis grabbed the knee and slid down to the foot. A crank of the toe, and Walker immediately tapped out.
The bout couldn't have gone any better for Danis. He needs to work on his striking, but he showed he has some of the best jiu-jitsu in the world. If Bellator moves him along slowly, the Viacom-owned company will have a new star.
9:15: Kicking off the main card of Bellator 198, Dillon Danis faces Kyle Walker in a catchweight fight at 175 pounds. Danis, the famed jiu-jitsu coach of Conor McGregor, will be making his MMA debut. Walker (2-4) comes into the fight on a two-fight losing streak. Many in MMA believe Danis is only getting this opportunity because of his association with the biggest name in the sport. He'll get a chance to prove the doubters wrong against an opponent who is designed to be a showcase for the New York native.
9:03: Seeing the production inside the arena, Bellator does it better than the UFC. It makes every moment feel important, even something as simple as the introduction of the main card to the crowd.
8:30: It's almost time; we are 30 minutes away from Bellator 198. The arena is about 80 percent full. Bellator sources have told SN they expect a sellout or close to one, and for the show to be the second-highest gate in history behind last June's Bellator NYC, which generated $1.6 million.
7:30: We are at Allstate Arena for Bellator 198. Stay locked in; bell time is fast approaching.
3 p.m.: We are inching closer to Bellator 198: Fedor vs. Mir. Here was the final episode of the fantastic countdown show leading into tonight's fight.
"When he starts flippin' the switch it’s a whole different Fedor."April 28, 2018
10:15 a.m.: Hello, fight fans. Bellator 198 will take place from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., right outside Chicago, in a few hours. The main event features a Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinal matchup featuring MMA royalty: former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko vs. two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. We will be inside the arena reporting on all the action. Stay locked in on SN all day long for news on Bellator 198.
Bellator 198 fight card
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir; heavyweights
- Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Sam Sicilia; featherweights
- Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. John Salter; middleweights
- Neiman Gracie vs. Javier Torres; welterweights
- Dillon Danis vs. Kyle Walker; catchweight (175 pounds)
- R'Mandel Cameron vs. P. J. Cajigas; welterweights
- Dan Stittgen vs. Mark Stoddard; welterweights
- Eric Wisely vs. Morgan Sickinger; catchweight (150 pounds)
- Matt Paul vs. Brian Booth; middleweights
- Joey Diehl vs. Nate Williams; flyweights
- Tom Shoaff vs. Mike Budnik; lightweights
- James Bennett vs. Dustin Stusse; lightweights
- Asef Askar vs. Andrew Johnson; featherweights
- Corey Jackson vs. Adil Benjilany; featherweights
- Welterweight Tom Angeloff vs. Sultan Umar; welterweights
- Adam Maciejewski vs. Robert Morrow; heavyweights
Bellator 198 latest news
Why is Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir such an iconic fight? We explain here.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. Subscribe to his You Tube channel here . You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA .
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