The stakes have been raised for Bellator’s upcoming bicentennial event.
Bellator president Scott Coker announced Thursday that Bellator 200’s main event, a heavyweight rematch between Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Roy Nelson, will serve as an official alternate bout for the promotion’s 2018 heavyweight grand prix.
“That will be for the first alternate spot,” Coker said. “Whoever wins will be the alternate for the tournament in case somebody gets injured.”
Coker announced the news at Bellator 198’s pre-fight press conference held to promote this weekend’s tourney quarterfinal bout between former Pride FC champion Fedor Emelianenko and ex-UFC titleholder Frank Mir, which headlines Saturday’s event in Chicago.
Filipovic (36-11-2, 1 NC) and Nelson (23-15) meet on May 25 at the The SSE Arena in London, England at Bellator 200. Nelson lost a tourney quarterfinal match via majority decision to Matt Mitrione in his most recent fight this past February. Filipovic, riding an eight-fight win streak, will be making his Bellator debut. The two heavyweights fought once before at UFC 137 in 2011, with Nelson defeating Filipovic via third-round knockout.
As for the rest of the bracket, Mitrione and Chael Sonnen have already punched their tickets into the tournament’s semifinals. The remaining two quarterfinal matchups are Emelianenko vs. Mir and a May 12 fight between Ryan Bader and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal.