The two men had previously face each other in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 16, with Nelson knocking Mitrione out in the first round, but that was five years ago and Mitrione showed that he is not the same fighter. He outstruck Nelson to win a very close majority decision.
The first two rounds saw Mitrione control the fight with fast hands and a powerful uppercut that opened up a cut over the left eye of Nelson, while Nelson had limited success imposing his grappling game. In the third round though, Nelson secured an early takedown and advanced to a mounted crucifix position and pelted Mitrione for the better part of the round. In the end, one of the judges gave Nelson a 10-8 third round, scoring the fight a draw, but the other two awarded the win to Mitrione with scores of 29-28. Mitrione will take on the winner of the Ryan Bader vs. Muhammed Lawal quarterfinal that takes place at Bellator 199 on May 12.
In the co-main event, it was a rematch between Patricky Freire and Derek Campos from their first fight at Bellator 117 where Freire knocked out Campos in the second round. Freire improved upon that outing this time out, stopping Campos with punches just 2:23 seconds into the first round. The win sets Freire up for a title shot against the winner of the lightweight title rematch between Brent Primus and Michael Chandler later this year.
Elsewhere on the card, Heather Hardy won a unanimous decision over Ana Julaton in a bout that was curiously contested mostly in the grappling department despite both women being professional boxers. Julaton seemed content to wrestle with Hardy but was unable to muster any real offense when she scored takedowns whereas Hardy threatened Julaton with several chokes from scramble positions. The two will rematch each other in their preferred milieu of professional boxing at a future date.
In one of the feature bouts of the evening, Vadim Nemkov dominated former light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary, earning a third-round stoppage from leg kicks. Early in the fight, Nemkov chewed up McGeary’s lower half with chopping kicks that McGeary had no answer to. McGeary did have a brief moment of opportunity in the second round with an inverted triangle attempt but nothing came of it. Nemkov returned to his low-kick assault that left McGeary hobbling by the end of round two and eventually forced the referee to halt the bout in third frame when McGeary fell over from the damage to his lead leg. The win positions Nemkov as a potential title challenger in Bellator’s 205-pound division.
In the main card opener, DII All-American wrestler Tywan Claxton dominated Jose Perez with his wrestling and ground-and-pound to earn a second-round stoppage and move to 2-0 in his professional career.