Bellator 290: Bader vs. Fedor 2 fight day is upon us, and everyone is buzzing with extreme anticipation of what’s to come.
The historic event will take place at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California, and will air live on CBS beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
In the main event of the evening, Fedor Emelianenko (40-6) will face Ryan Bader (30-7) for the Bellator heavyweight championship, in what is planned to be the final fight for the Russian MMA legend.
Preceding the heavyweight championship rematch, fulfilling the co-main event, will be undefeated middleweight Johnny Eblen (12-0) versus Russia’s Anatoly Tokov (31-3).
Ahead of the action, on Thursday afternoon, the media got a chance to speak with some of the other notable fighters that are contributing to the stacked nature of this fight card.
Take a look below at what the competitors had to say regarding their upcoming bouts:
Jaylon Bates (6-0) – Bantamweight
On fight with Jornel Lugo:
“This isn’t my biggest fight. The biggest fight will be when I fight for the belt. I’ve been ready to go, ready to rock. I’m tired of thinking about Jornel [Lugo]. I’ve been thinking about him for five months. I like guys that keep me up at night. If BELLATOR wants me to fight him, I’m gonna fight him. I’m going to keep going, keep winning. It doesn’t matter if it’s Jornel or [Raufeon] Stots or [Sergio] Pettis. They’re all going to keep me up at night.”
Neiman Gracie (11-4) – Welterweight
Regarding next fight with Dante Schiro:
“Things are not going as planned but when things are not going as planned you have to find a way to make it work. I’m here to turn the tables and get back in line. The best thing in life is to overcome bad situations and that’s what I live for. I’m happy to be here in this situation and I’m happy to overcome it and be a better fighter.”
Sabah Homasi (17-10) – Welterweight
Taking on Brennan Ward:
“I’m going to beat this guy’s face in. I told my manager to make this fight happen. It took a while but here we are. I love facing somebody who shows up and comes to fight. Somebody who’s going to meet me in the middle and we’re going to throw down. That’s what I like. Absolutely, I respect him. You have to respect somebody like Brennan Ward. He’s got power in both his hands and at the end of the day, I don’t look past anybody. Anybody who’s across the cage from me, I know I’m getting into a fight and I’m going to be well-prepared.”
Brennan Ward (16-6) – Welterweight
On Sabah Homasi:
“I’ve got respect for Homasi, and I know he has respect for me. I can’t look you in the eyes and say he’s not dangerous, and he can’t look you in the eyes and say I’m not dangerous. We’re both dangerous dudes and some dangerous shit is going to happen out there. And it’s probably not going to leave the first round, honestly. So what can you say? How can you get fired up and talk all this shit to each other when you know one of you is getting knocked out? We’re going to let our hands talk.”
Lorenz Larkin (24-7) – Welterweight
On the Rematch with Mukhamed Berkhamov:
“This fight is not so much personal. I think as a fighter, we’re always trying to find that chink in the armor. I think, for the first fight, it gave me a big insight into what that fighter is. I guess that type of stuff drives me. It’s just disappointing. At the end of the day, I know it was a foul. I acknowledge that. But at the end of the day, I’m a vet. I know a fight-ending blow, and I know a blow to just get you to stop doing something. That wasn’t a fight-ending blow. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Steve Mowry (10-0) – Heavyweight
On Ali Isaev:
“I trained with him three years ago, right before he won the PFL tournament. When he won, we were really happy for him and proud of him, and then he disappeared for a while there. Whenever I saw that BELLATOR had signed him, I had a feeling at some point we might have to see each other. Like I said, I was more than happy for him when he went out and did his thing, but now we’re going to do our thing together. He wasn’t [at Kill Cliff FC] long, but we got a lot of work together.”
Ali Isaev (9-0) – Heavyweight
“As any good fighter, I definitely strive to win the title. I still think I have something left in me and I’m going to go for the title. I don’t regret not getting into MMA sooner. I’m pretty happy and confident with where I am now. I know people like to talk about my age but I believe it’s about how you feel inside, how flexible you are, how prepared you are with your training. I lost a couple of years but I still believe I have a lot to show.”
Jornel Lugo (8-1) Bantamweight
On fight with Jaylon Bates:
“When I first heard about this fight, I thought this was a good matchup. He’s 6-0; he’s undefeated. I’m 8-1. I’m coming off my first loss, so I thought it was a fair matchup. I can’t complain about it. I like it.”
Grant Neal (7-1) – Light Heavyweight
On the Matchup with Karl Albrektsson:
“I think it’s a great matchup. I’m just excited to show what I can do, and I know that my team is seeing everything and all the work that I put in, so I’m excited to show the world. Karl’s a great opponent. He’s a veteran. He’s been in the sport for a while. He’s fought some of the best in the world, beat some of the best, and I’m excited to test my skills against someone like him.”
Karl Albrektsson (13-4) – Light Heavyweight
“Grant [Neal] is a very good athlete and a very good wrestler. You can see that he’s getting better in each fight and that he’s evolving. This is definitely a very tough matchup against a very skilled opponent. Yes, he’s one of the shortest opponents I’ve faced, but he’s built like an ox. He has a very strong double leg, and he’s a bit shorter, so he’s closer to the legs. That’s his advantage and I assume his game plan will be to try to take me down. It’s definitely been a focus of mine in camp.”
Diana Avsaragova (5-0) – Women’s Flyweight
“Of course, I’m extremely happy that I’m fighting on this huge card, especially with Fedor [Emelianenko] headlining. I’m so happy that BELLATOR put me in this fight, and I’ll do my best on Saturday night.”