Bader Seeks to Become First Man to Defeat Fedor Emelianenko Twice

Bader Seeks to Become First Man to Defeat Fedor Emelianenko Twice

LOS ANGELES – This Saturday, Feb. 4, BELLATOR MMA will make its landmark CBS network television and Paramount+ debut from the Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA. In the historic Heavyweight World Championship main event, reigning titleholder and No. 6 Pound-for-Pound athlete Ryan “Darth” Bader (30-7, 1 NC) seeks to become the first man to ever defeat the legendary No. 3-ranked Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko (40-6, 1 NC) twice in the Russian icon’s final fight of what has been an unrivaled combat sports career.

BELLATOR 290: Bader vs. Fedor 2 will air live on CBS and on the Paramount+ streaming service at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Following the live event, the broadcast will be available on Paramount+ on an on-demand basis and streaming on the BELLATOR MMA channel on Pluto TV. BELLATOR 290 will also be available on SHOWTIME streaming service and SHOWTIME On Demand later in the month.

In the co-headlining bout, undisputed and undefeated World Middleweight Champion, No. 5 Pound-for-Pound talent Johnny “The Human Cheat Code” Eblen (12-0) will aim to earn his first title defense against Emelianenko protégé, No. 3-ranked Anatoly Tokov (31-2). Welterweight fan-favorites “Irish” Brennan Ward (16-6) and No. 8-ranked contender Sabah “Sleek Sheik” Homasi (17-10) will make history as the first BELLATOR fight to air on CBS and Paramount+ in this must-see main card curtain-jerker.


Unquestionably one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever grace the cage, Russia’s Fedor Emelianenko will seek a storybook ending to his legendary career on February 4 when he tries to capture the World Heavyweight Championship against rival Ryan Bader. The former PRIDE FC Heavyweight Champion amassed 16 devastating knockouts and 15 submissions over world-class opponents during his two-plus decades atop MMA’s heavyweight division. That Emelianenko specifically sought to rematch Bader, the reigning titleholder, rather than take an easier matchup in his retirement fight reflects his mythical valor and unquenchable championship aspirations.

  • This World Heavyweight Championship bout marks Emelianenko’s seventh BELLATOR MMA appearance and his sixth main event with the promotion. It will be Emelianenko’s second effort at the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Fighting out of Stary Oskol, Russia, Emelianenko was a two-time Olympic torchbearer and holds a Masters of Sport in judo and sambo.
  • Emelianenko was named “Fighter of the Decade” for his 2000s exploits by numerous sport-specific media outlets, also earning such awards for “Fight of the Year” and “Fight of the Decade” for his victory over Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipović.
  • Emelianenko will continue his significant impact on the sport through the success of his pupils, among them World Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov (16-2), No. 1-ranked heavyweight Valentin Moldavsky (11-2, 1 NC), and World Middleweight Championship challenger and BELLATOR 290 co-headliner Anatoly Tokov (31-2).


At BELLATOR 290, Ryan Bader will look to become the first fighter in history to score a second victory over the iconic Emelianenko, defending his World Heavyweight Championship in the process. Entering his rematch with “The Last Emperor” on February 4, Bader will already hold BELLATOR records for the longest heavyweight title reign and most heavyweight title defenses, but he will hope to widen that gap with a second emphatic victory over Emelianenko. Bader knocked out the Russian in 35 seconds during their first meeting in 2019, earning the vacant championship in the finale of the BELLATOR Heavyweight World Grand Prix. The former simultaneous two-weight titleholder has legacy on the mind as he tries to spoil Emelianenko’s last professional outing.

  • Bader’s rematch with Emelianenko will be his twelfth BELLATOR appearance and his ninth headlining opportunity. It will mark his eighth title fight with the promotion.
  • Prior to joining BELLATOR, Bader won Season 8 of the arduous, hit reality-TV competition The Ultimate Fighter and became one of the UFC’s highest-ranked light heavyweight contenders.
  • Bader made his first foray into martial arts with wrestling. He joined the Arizona State University wrestling program as a two-time Nevada high school state champion and top recruit, and he went on to become a two-time NCAA DI All-American and three-time PAC-10 Conference champion as a Sun Devil.
  • Bader is BELLATOR’s first simultaneous two-division World Champion. He is the only BELLATOR athlete to defend titles in two weight classes.


CBS and Paramount +
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023 — 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT

Heavyweight World Title Main Event: #C-Ryan Bader (30-7, 1 NC) vs. #3-Fedor Emelianenko (40-6, 1 NC)

Middleweight World Title Co-Main Event: #C-Johnny Eblen (12-0)vs. Anatoly Tokov (31-3)

Welterweight Bout: Sabah Homasi (17-10) vs. Brennan Ward (16-6)


BELLATOR MMA YouTube Channel | Pluto TV
6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT

Welterweight Bout: #7-Neiman Gracie (11-4) vs. Dante Schiro (9-4)

Welterweight Bout: #8-Lorenz Larkin (24-7, 2 NC) vs. Mukhamed Berkhamov (15-1, 1 NC)

Featherweight Bout: Henry Corrales (20-6) vs. Akhmed Magomedov (9-0, 1 NC)

Heavyweight Bout: #5-Steve Mowry (10-0, 1 NC) vs. Ali Isaev (9-0)

Lightweight Bout: Chris Gonzalez (7-2) vs. Max Rohskopf (7-1)

Light Heavyweight Bout: #6-Grant Neal (7-1) vs. #T9-Karl Albrektsson (13-4)

Flyweight Bout: Alejandra Lara (9-6) vs. Diana Avsaragova (5-0)

Bantamweight Bout: Darrion Caldwell (14-6) vs. Nikita Mikhailov (9-2)

Bantamweight Bout: Jaylon Bates (6-0) vs. Jornel Lugo (8-1)


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