Bader Wants Fedor In Grand-Prix Finals
Ryan Bader’s ideal ending for the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix is not only holding both the heavyweight and light heavyweight title, but by defeating the “Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko.
The current light heavyweight champion’s first Grand Prix fight goes down at Bellator 199 on May 12th against Muhammed Lawal. And with Matt Mitrione awaiting him if he wins, he looks at Fedor as the final level towards being a double champion.
“If I had my pick to fight somebody in the final, I’d love to fight Fedor in the finals,” Bader told MMAjunkie. “I think everybody in this tournament, that’s their pick. He’s a legend of the sport, and to cap it off with a win over him to be the heavyweight champion? That’s the ultimate fairytale right there. But I can see either of those guys advancing, and I could even see Chael making it.
“Each of them bring their own thing. Fedor has the mystique about him and beating him, he’s a legend. But Chael’s also going to be running his mouth to build the fight. That’s a fun fight. I’ve always wanted to step in there with him. And Mir too – he’s got skills, and I’d like to test that. But I’ve got to win my side too, and that’s what I’m focusing on.”
Bader, 34, feels the odds are in his favor to reach the next round against Lawal, and a path at the finals at the expense of Mitrione,
“I’ve always believed I was going to win from the beginning, but watching these fights, you see their holes, what you can exploit, and what they’re good at,” Bader said. “I have one of the toughest first-round fights in the tournament with ‘Mo.’ Then I move on to the big boys. Matt Mitrione, he’s fast, and he’s agile. One of the things I took away from his fight (against Roy Nelson at Bellator 194) was his wrestling. My wrestling is high-level, so that’s one thing I can exploit. But that’s what’s fun about this tournament: You can go in there and every guy is different.”