Bellator 214: “Fedor vs. Bader” took place Jan. 26, 2019, at The Forum in Inglewood, California. In the culmination of Bellator MMA’s Heavyweight Grand Prix, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (38-5, 1 NC) and Ryan “Darth” Bader (26-5) squared off to determine who would be the new 265-pound champion.
Even though Emelianenko came into the main event 42 years young, his formidable reputation earned over decades of competition carried as much weight as his six foot tall frame. 15 wins by knockout. 15 wins by submission. Undefeated for almost a full decade. Former PRIDE Fighting Heavyweight champion. His credentials were/are incredible.
Bader is not the man to be intimidated by reputation. Slightly taller than Emelianenko at 6’2,” Bader actually gave up two inches of reach to his foe, 76” to 74” in wingspan. He had already overcome a much bigger size discrepancy against Matt Mitrione to reach the finals though, and as the reigning Light Heavyweight champion his swagger was assured.
As it turned out he wouldn’t need the swagger nor the stature to stand with Fedor. All he needed was a solid left hook at 31 seconds. It wasn’t even the most impressive looking blow Bader has landed in a fight, but power and accuracy are more important than looking good. Emelianenko wilted immediately and four seconds later the bout was waved off.
With that quick but dominant performance, Ryan Bader assured himself a place on the short list of people who could claim “champ-champ” status in any promotion around the world.
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