While NBA All-Star Weekend was kicking off in Los Angeles on Friday night (Feb. 16), MMA fans were glued to their TV screens, watching a slug fest between two veteran heavyweights: Matt Mitrione and Roy Nelson.
The two slugged it out in the headlining bout of Bellator 194 in Uncasville, Conn., ending in a majority decision victory for Mitrione (13-5).
The MMA veteran won with striking. He landed jabs and kicks throughout the first two rounds and eventually opened up a cut on the left eye of Nelson (23-15). However, in the final minute of the second round, Nelson took his opponent to the mat and landed some strong shots in ground-and-pound.
In the third round, Nelson seemed to take over. He took Mitrione down early, got into side control and landed hard punches and elbows to close out the fight. But, it wasn’t enough for the judges, who awarded Mitrione the victory.
“I won the first two rounds pretty easily,” Mitrione said after the fight. “He did a good job in the third — it was disheartening, for sure. But I won the fight. We figured this would be a 15-minute nasty fight, and it was.”
Mitrione’s win advances him in the World Heavyweight Grand Prix, where he’ll next face either Ryan Bader or Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal.
With the win, Mitrione has won four consecutive bouts. Nelson, 41, is 1-1 in Bellator, and has dropped three of his last five fights.