The Bellator 2018 Heavyweight Grand Prix kicked off at Bellator 192 with an interesting match up: former PRIDE and UFC light heavyweight champ Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson versus former middleweight contender Chael Sonnen. The switch to heavyweight has suited Rampage just fine. He never liked cutting weight down to 205 and came in just north of 250 pounds for this fight. That spelled trouble for Sonnen, who looked like he may be too small to implement his wrestling game against the much bigger Jackson.
Round one saw Jackson shrug off Sonnen’s takedown attempts and even picking Chael up and slamming him onto the canvas once. Sonnen stayed game in the face of adversity, hitting Quinton with overhand lefts and even a flying knee at one point. In round two he proved size isn’t everything, getting Jackson down off a trip and hitting him with some ground and pound before working for a kimura. Rampage kept cool, seemingly content to wait until a reset or the next round, whatever came first.
In round three Rampage put Sonnen against the cage and worked the body, but he was never able to reproduce that knockout power he was known for earlier in his career. The final bell came and the fight went to the judge’s scorecards. In the end, Chael Sonnen won the fight 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 off being the more active fighter and that top control for the second round. He’ll advance to the second round of the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament against the winner of a fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Mir … two real heavyweights who aren’t as likely to sleepwalk through their fights as Rampage was.