For the final time, the legendary Fedor Emelianenko made the walk to the cage on Saturday at Bellator 290, taking on heavyweight champion Ryan Bader. The event took place at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and the fight card aired on CBS and Paramount Plus.
Bader scored a quick knockout win over Emelianenko in 2019, and it’s the one loss Emelianenko said that he wanted back. In their first fight, it only took Bader 35 seconds. In the rematch, it lasted 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
Emelianenko missed with a right hand. Bader connected with a left hand. Bader landed a left hand that knocked Emelianenko down. Bader unleaded multiple hammer firsts. Bader unloaded punch after punch and referee Herb Dead stepped in and stopped it.
𝑯𝑰𝑺𝑻𝑶𝑹𝒀— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) February 5, 2023
Heavyweight Champion @RyanBader becomes the first man ever to defeat Fedor twice.
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In the co-main event, undefeated middleweight champion Johnny Eblen put his title on the line against the streaking No. 3 ranked Anatoly Tokov.
Eblen came out pressing Tokov with jabs and leg kicks. Tokov connected with counter right hand off of a leg kick, but couldn’t get Eblen to the ground. Anytime Took came forward, Eblen initiated the clinch. The champ connected with a left hand on the break in the closing seconds of the round.
Tokov landed a combination at the start of the second round. Tokov’s counter punches started to find their mark. Elben picked up is pace and landed short elbows on the inside. Eblen looks to get the fight to the ground but Tokov defends the attempt. Tokov briefly wobbled Eblen with a punch. Elben dropped Tokov with an elbow. Tokov got to his feet and the round ended with the two clinched along the fence.
They exchanged body kicks to start the third frame. Eblen secured a takedown, but Tokov quickly got to his feet. Eblem slammed Tokov back to the canvas. Tokov gets to his feet only to be powered back to the ground. Tokov was able to separate once he finally got up, but the round ended.
Eblen slipped but quickly got back to his feet. Once he did, he took Tokov down. Tokov stands but Elben keeps the pressure on. Eblen created space and delivered elbows. Tokov got to his feet as the round ended.
The pace slowed in the final frame. Midway though the round, Eblen takes Tokov down and repeatedly slammed Tokov to the canvas each time he got up. The fight went the distance but was largely one-sided after the first round.
All three judges scored the fight for Eblen by unanimous decision. The scorecards read: 50-45, 49-46, and 49-46.