Fedor Emelianenko became Ryan Bader’s stepping stone to writing his name in the history book of MMA after being Bellator’s first two-division champion at their headlining match in California.
The long-awaited championship night of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix ended just 32 seconds to the opening round after Bader knocked Emelianenko out early in the fight. ‘The Last Emperor’ is now left with questions about his mixed martial arts future.
Emelianenko Vs Bader
The American champ-champ added the Bellator heavyweight belt to his light heavyweight title in the main event of Saturday’s Bellator 214 at The Forum in Inglewood. It was one of his career’s greatest milestones, winning the championship match over veteran fighter Emelianenko.
Bader released an initial heavy left hand on the 42-year-old’s jaw, dropping his Russian foe in quick and devastating fashion. Being the first fighter to hold two championship belts in the promotion’s 10-year history, the 35-year-old surely felt honoured.
“To be a two-division champion, it’s surreal man. What a night,” Bader said.
Doesn’t Have To Fight Again
Emelianenko, on the other hand, whole-heartedly accepted the defeat though unsure of where his career is heading afterwards. Nevertheless, the Russian fighter has proven himself in the game after being one of the greatest heavyweights in history throughout his celebrated career.
‘The Last Emperor’ fought under PRIDE, Strikeforce, Bellator, and Affliction during his prime. Despite this, he wasn’t able to sign any of his rumoured match-ups and potential dream fights with the UFC in the past.
Bellator President Scott Coker has taken pride in one of the promotion’s legends in the heavyweight division. However, if Emelianenko decides to call it a career, he’s okay with it.
“That’s really up to him (if he’ll fight again). That’s really up to Fedor. I think that we had a relationship that lasted for many years, and he fought for me back in Strikeforce. And Fedor, he doesn’t have to fight again,” Coker said.
“He’s already done it all. He’s already the greatest heavyweight of all time. He’s had such a great run. But, really, it’s going to be up to him whether he decides to really put it to rest.”
Emelianenko didn’t discuss any of what happened during his Bellator headliner vs Bader after the match. Yesterday, he finally broke his silence with an update on his health and extending his thanks to all his supporters.
Posting on Instagram, the Ukranian-born fighter wrote:
“After the fight, I feel good, the dissection over the eye is not deep, yesterday I had several stitches. I think it will heal in a couple of weeks.”
“I want to say thanks to everyone who helped me get ready, who came to the fight, and who got up early to watch the match. Thank you all for your support and your prayers. All the will of God.”
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После боя чувствую себя хорошо, рассечение над глазом не глубокое, вчера мне наложили несколько швов. Думаю, через пару недель все заживет. Хочу сказать спасибо всем, кто помогал мне готовиться, кто приехал на бой, и кто встал рано утром посмотреть поединок. Благодарю всех за поддержку и ваши молитвы. На все воля Божья.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Bellator MMA