Bellator favorite back at Mohegan Sun for co-main event, taking on fellow UFC ex-pat Tim Johnson.
The heavyweights are back in town, both in the sense of in the Bellator cage and in the Mohegan Sun Arena. Matt Mitrione returns this Friday at Bellator 243. It’s familiar territory for “Meathead” — six of his professional bouts have taken place in Connecticut. This time he meets Timothy Johnson, a former UFC vet who is 1-2 in the Bellator cage.
“Looking forward to getting my hand raised again,” Mitrione told Cageside Press at the event’s media day this week. “I’m happy I get to compete again. Do something else other than look at my kids,” he joked. At the suggestion they’ve been his main sparring partners, Mitrione added “been thumping them and tugging on their ears as much as I can. And if that’s legal, I’m going to use it to the fullest extent [versus Johnson].”
The jokester that is Matt Mitrione was fully present only a few days out from Bellator 243. But Mitrione is focused on the bout. It is no secret, meanwhile, that Timothy Johnson has a solid ground game. One he may fall back on come fight night by taking this one to the canvas. That said, Johnson has indicated a willingness to stand and trade. Mitrione isn’t to worried about his ground game, and warned standing with him is a bad idea.
“It’s a big mistake for a lot of people to stand with me,” Mitrione stated. “We’ll see what happens. Maybe it is, maybe he takes my ass down. I don’t know.”
Mitrione is currently on a three-fight skid but isn’t worried about his confidence being shaken going into Bellator 243.
“[Ryan] Bader kicked the sh*t out of me. [Sergei] Kharitonov I lost focus. I shouldn’t have let the mouth piece bother me as much as I did. On top of that, he earned it. He did a great job. He kept his composure,” observed Mitrione. “If [Bellator] is thinking of cutting me, then maybe I’ll get cut. Who knows.”
Mitrione turned 42 only a few weeks ago. In a sport that constantly has new prospects rising up, older athletes have proven that MMA isn’t always for the young buck. Mitrione is one of those aging wonders, as at 42 years young, he steps in the cage again Friday night. Mitrione thanks his Scottish background.
“I’m a highlander, so I’m a little bit of a different conversation,” Mitrione told Cageside Press. “I’m the anomaly. I’m rather spry for being arthritic and old. I also eat a lot of garlic. I’m Italian, I don’t know man.”
Mitrione’s Scottish and Italian background are apparently the secret weapons for staying young in this sport.
Bellator 243 takes place this Friday, August 7 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The main card airs live on Paramount Network and DAZN.