Next Saturday Night at Bellator 180, it is going to be a heavyweight co-main event as UFC veteran Matt Mitrione fights Fedor Emelianenko.
When the two step into the cage against each other, the UFC veteran wants to be in the cage with the “badass” Emelianenko -- not the one who has struggled in years past.
“I might be a little more prepared for the ground stuff,” Mitrione said at a Bellator 180 conference call. “As far as armbar defense, rear-naked defense, kimura defense, takedown defense – I feel like I was pretty solid there already, as far as takedown defense. But we worked a lot of defensive grappling. You always come up with something new. A new kind of counter, a new kind of work, a new kind of angle to work on. You kind of have to. You kind of have to create something in order to keep it interesting, keep it fresh. And I remember before – it might have been hype or not, I don’t know – but I remember hearing before that Fedor was busy with his life and didn’t get a chance to get much training in, only got a month in. So hopefully now, Fedor is back to being awesome, badass Fedor that he’s always been.”
The two were supposed to meet at Bellator 172 earlier this year, but Mitrione was pulled from the fight due to the effects of kidney stones.
Mitrione would also be the first to admit that having two training camps for the same opponent sucks for him and his opponent.
“Unfortunately for Fedor and for myself, we had to go through two camps for the same person,” Mitrione said. “That kind of sucks – especially without having a payoff, at least having to get the fight before having to go through another one and running back for a second fight.”
Bellator 180 takes place on Saturday, June 24 from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York with Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.