Fedor Vs. Bader 2: The Last Emperor’s Historical Retirement Match

This Saturday, Bellator is starting off the 2023 schedule with a huge event in the company’s history. Bellator 290 will take place at The Forum in Inglewood, California, and will be the company’s main card network debut on CBS.

The card will feature a championship doubleheader, with the main event being a heavyweight title fight between Ryan Bader and MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. Bader and Emelianenko previously faced each other at Bellator 214 in January 2019, where Bader came out on top with a 35-second TKO victory. Emelianenko is set to retire from MMA competition after this fight.

In the co-main event, middleweight champion Johnny Eblen will be making his first title defense against challenger Anatoly Tokov. Eblen has a perfect record of 12-0 in MMA and 8-0 in Bellator, while Tokov has only lost once in the past 11 years.

Ryan Bader made history at Bellator 214 by becoming the first simultaneous two-division champion in Bellator’s history. He is also the only champion in Bellator’s history to have registered title defenses in two weight classes. Along with Patricio Freire, Bader is one of two simultaneous two-division champions in Bellator’s history, and one of three fighters to have won titles in two weight classes, along with Freire and Joe Warren.

Bader has been on a roll since moving up to the heavyweight division in May 2018, with a record of 5-0 (and one no contest). His six-fight Bellator unbeaten streak in heavyweight competition is the longest active streak in the division. This will be the fifth rematch of Bader’s career, and he has a perfect record of 4-0 when facing an opponent for the second time.

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