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President Scott Coker has high praise for youthful Matt Mitrione after Bellator 194


UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The Bellator 194 main event was not without controversy, to be certain – at least from the fans in attendance in Connecticut.

Matt Mitrione (13-5 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) took a majority decision from Roy Nelson (22-15 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) on Friday night with a pair of 29-28 scores. A third judge had it 28-28 after giving the first two rounds to Mitrione, but a 10-8 third to Nelson.

Nelson had takedowns in all three rounds, but the third frame was the one in which he exerted some dominance on the canvas. In Rounds 1 and 2, Mitrione won the striking battles until he was taken down later in each round.

Bellator 194 took place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., with a main card on Paramount. With the win, Mitrione moved on in the Bellator heavyweight tournament and sent Nelson out of the grand prix field.

Bellator President Scott Coker on Friday night told MMAjunkie he didn’t truly score the fight, but praised Mitrione for the win. He also gave a reminder that had a second judge scored it a draw, there would’ve been a fourth sudden-victory round to determine a winner.

“That was a fight that was tough,” Coker said. “I could’ve seen if it went to an extra round. But for the most part, I just sat there and watched it as a fan. I wasn’t writing down every round and monitoring every second of the fight like a judge would. To me, it was entertaining. Matt’s legs really impressed me – not just his kicking ability, but here’s a guy moving around like he’s 25 years old. So I thought he did a good job.”

Mitrione said afterward he didn’t expect to have the trouble with Nelson’s takedowns that he did. He now moves into the semifinals against the winner of Ryan Bader and Muhammed Lawal – who are known for their wrestling.

Coker wouldn’t commit to a prediction that Mitrione might struggle with either guy if he struggled with Nelson’s takedowns, though.

“That’s something – we’ll see,” Coker said. “Bader and ‘King Mo’ are both wrestlers of a high level. Either one of them will be a challenge for anybody. Matt’s a great fighter, Bader’s a great fighter, ‘King Mo’ is a great fighter. It’s going to be fun to watch. We have this tournament, and it’s an all-year-long affair, and it’s just getting better and better and better.”

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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