Bellator 194 Gets Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione As Headliner

Roy Nelson makes his Bellator MMA debut at Bellator 183
Credit: Dave Mandel/

The Bellator World Heavyweight Grand Prix 2018 continues in Connecticut next February, with Roy Nelson making his return.

Bellator 194 is going big… country. Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione, which had already been linked to the event, has been confirmed as the Bellator 194 headliner. The card takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT on February 16.

Nelson (23–14) made his debut in September at Bellator 183, picking up a unanimous decision win against Javy Ayala. Ayala, who made a name for himself in the promotion by knocking out Sergei Kharitonov in November 2016, stayed in the bout to the end, but ultimately, Nelson was too much for him to handle. Prior to jumping over to Bellator, ‘Big Country’ had gone 2-2 over his last four in the UFC.

Matt Mitrione (12–5) is undefeated since joining the Bellator ranks in 2016. The former football player got his start on The Ultimate Fighter Season 10, and head never competed outside the UFC prior to signing with Bellator MMA. Now, he’s on a three fight win streak with victories over Carl Seumanutafa, Oli Thompson, and Fedor Emelianenko.

Nelson and Mitrione have met once before, back in the UFC at The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale. Mitrione stepped in for Shane Carwin at the event, who’d coached opposite Nelson on the show. Roy Nelson got the best of ‘Meathead’ that night, knocking Mitrione out in the first round.