Matt Mitrione set for return at Bellator 243

Matt Mitrione, Bellator 215

Bellator heavyweight contender Matt Mitrione is set to make his return to the cage when he takes on Timothy Johnson at Bellator 243.

Bellator 243 takes place on Friday, August 7, and is headlined by a rematch between top lightweight contenders Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson. The heavyweight matchup featuring Mitrione vs. Johnson is set to be the co-main event for the card. The event takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Also added to the Bellator 243 card is a welterweight bout between former UFC fighters Curtis Millender and Sabah Homasi.

Mitrione (13-7, 1 NC) is now 42 years old and is coming off of a devastating KO loss to Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 225 in August 2019. Since leaving the UFC for Bellator in 2016, Mitrione is 4-2, 1 NC overall with notable wins over the legendary Fedor Emelianenko and Roy Nelson, plus other victories over Oli Thompson and Carl Seumanutafa. His losses came against Kharitonov and Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader.

Johnson (13-6) is 35 years old and is 1-2 in Bellator since joining the promotion in 2018. After losing back-to-back fights against Cheick Kongo and Vitaly Minakov by knockout, Johnson picked up a surprising KO win over Tyrell Fortune in his last fight at Bellator 239 in February of this year. Johnson is a former UFC heavyweight and had a record of 4-3 there.

With Bader looking for potential opponents to defend his heavyweight title against, the winner of Mitrione vs. Johnson will be near the top of Bellator’s somewhat thin heavyweight division. It’s likely that whoever wins this bout would still need another win or two to get the title shot, but considering there aren’t many fighters in the weight class, the winner of Mitrione vs. Johnson will be in a good position to get a bigger fight the next time out.

Who do you think wins, Matt Mitrione or Timothy Johnson?