Stay up to date with what’s happening tonight’s Bellator 290 event, which is going down from the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California.
The main event of the evening will be a special one. It is the setting where the most dominant MMA heavyweight to ever do it, Fedor Emelianenko, will finally call it a career by rematching Ryan Bader for his heavyweight belt.
Fedor began his professional MMA journey in Russia 2000, and from there began building his iconic legacy over in Japan. You name ‘em, and he’s beat ‘em. There’s Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira (twice), Kazuyuki Fujita, Gary Goodridge, Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman (twice) , Semmy Schilt, Tsuyoshi Kosaka, Mirko Filipović (Cro Cop), Mark Hunt, Tim Sylvia, and Andrei Arlovski... and that’s before he ever got to the likes of Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Show me a better résumé. I’ll wait.
Fedor rose to a larger than life mythical status, and did so without talking a lick of smack to anyone. Not a single ill word spoken, yet released utter violence from bell to bell. Possessing that combination for 23-years has earned him the respect of his peers, fans, and promoters alike — and also cemented his face on the Mount Rushmore of MMA.
Nobody is really expecting Fedor to beat Bader, but this isn’t about that. It’s about a proper send off for one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in full contact martial arts. I definitely won’t be crying.
The rest of the card almost seems like an afterthought, but there’s some bangers going on. The Bellator 290 co-main event will be a middleweight title fight between the new champion, Johnny Eblen, and his first challenger, Anatoly Tokov. Before that is the third and final fight on the main card, and will enjoy action fighters Sabah Homasi and Brennan Ward going heads up.
There’s also a bunch of familiar faces on the prelims, like Lorenz Larkin who faces Mukhamed Berkhamov, Neiman Gracie pitted against Dante Schiro, Darrion Caldwell colliding with Nikita Mikhailov, and Karl Albrektsson taking on Grant Neal. Another notable matchup will be in the featherweight division when Henry Corrales meets the undefeated Akhmed Magomedov.
The main card is scheduled to begin at 9:00pm ET, and can be seen on CBS. The preliminary bouts begin at 6:00pm ET and can be streamed on Bellator’s YouTube channel.
Ryan Bader def. Fedor Emelianenko by TKO at 2:30 of round 1: Heavyweight Title
Bader started to score early with his boxing, first with his jab, and then mixing in his hooks. He then dropped Fedor, and followed him down to the canvas in pursuit of the finish. A bloodied Fedor tried to tie up, but the ground and pound from the champion was relentless. The referee warned Fedor to improve his position, but Fedor was stuck, so the fight was stopped. That is all she wrote for Fedor, who now leaves the sport after posting up a legendary record of 40-7.
HISTORY MADE.— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) February 5, 2023
Ryan Bader defeats Fedor Emelianenko to retain the Heavyweight Title @BellatorMMA pic.twitter.com/yNZJdbATXc
Toda uma era do esporte no cage! #BellatorNoCombate pic.twitter.com/BzPBncn1Bq— Combate (@combate) February 5, 2023
#ThankYouFedor— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) February 5, 2023
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Fin.— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) February 5, 2023
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Johnny Eblen def. Anatoly Tokov by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46 x2): Middleweight Title
Not much of a feeling out process went on here. Both fighters went right to work, showing aggression and throwing combinations. The better shots were probably scored by Tokov, but Eblen landed more often. Whenever the fighters clinched up, it was clear that they pretty evenly matched, with neither man being able to get the upper hand.
The war waged on in the second round, with Tokov pumping out his jab. Eblen started to show a bit ore urgency, coming forward and winging haymakers. While Eblen was swinging wild, Tokov stayed true to his jab and cross. With less than 90-seconds to go in the round, Tokov uncorked a massive right hand that got the attention of Eblen. The champion would come right back, though, by dropping Tokov with a sneaky elbow, and then scoring a takedown as soon as he stood up.
Tokov returned to peppering with his jab to begin the third act, but Eblen quickly blasted a takedown to get on top. From there, Eblen started to grind on Tokov, putting him through a classic wrestling rinse and repeat cycle. Once Tokov broke free, he was able to connect some more with his straight punches, but Eblen was also getting through with his looping leather.
Eblen returned to his wrestling in the fourth frame, pressing Tokov against the fence and making him carry his weight. Whenever Tokov would stand up, Eblen would drag him right back down to the mat. Tokov was predominantly defensive as he struggled to find any seperation.
Eblen definitely had the better body language going into the final frame. Just when it looked as though the fighters were going to spend the round trading on the feet, Eblen changed levels and realized another takedown. Naturally, he went right back to the grind, smothering Tokov with pressure. The only time Tokov found seperation was the brief second he was free after getting suplexed by Eblen.
Another takedown from the champ!— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) February 5, 2023
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Brennan Ward def. Sabah Homasi by TKO at 1:34 of round 2: Welterweight
Ward was looking for an early takedown to get things going, but Homasi stayed on his feet and began to unload some heavy strikes. Homasi was letting his hands go, and landing some thudding leg kicks. Ward then exploded with a takedown and transitioned right to the back, but didn’t do much with the position before Homasi stood back up. After launching a flurry, Homasi slipped after throwing a knee, and Ward capitalized on the moment by taking the back again. Homasi stood up again, and then it was Ward’s turn to unload a barrage.
Ward seemed to have much more spring in his step in the second round. He was all over Homasi, unleashing a swarm of punches that were overloading the fading fighter. The end came when Ward went upstairs with a beautiful head kick that sat down Homasi. A couple of ground strikes landed before the referee stepped in and waved off the bout.
The career resurgence of @SwaggleBerryFin continues! What a stoppage LIVE on @CBS— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) February 5, 2023
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Lorenz Larkin def. Mukhamed Berkhamov by KO at 1:141of round 1: Welterweight
! What a KO from @da_MONSOON— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) February 5, 2023
@MonsterEnergy Prelims fueled by @NorthgateGlzMrk | Bellator YouTube
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Henry Corrales def. Akhmed Magomedov by unanimous decision: Featherweight
Steve Mowry vs. Ali Isaev ends in a unanimous draw: Heavyweight
Chris Gonzalez def. Max Rohskopf by TKO at 1:22 of round 2: Lightweight
The first finish of the night at #Bellator290 pic.twitter.com/59UjEIzRuG— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) February 5, 2023
Grant Neal def. Karl Albrektsson by split decision: Light Heavyweight
Diana Avsaragova def. Alejandra Lara by split decision: (W) Flyweight
Nikita Mikhailov def. Darrion Caldwell by unanimous decision: Bantamweight
Neiman Gracie def. Dante Schiro by unanimous decision: Welterweight
Jaylon Bates def. Jornel Lugo by split decision: Bantamweight
Isaiah Hokit def. Peter Ishiguro by unanimous decision: Featherweight
Yusuf Karakaya def. Ethan Hughes by unanimous decision: Welterweight
About the author: Eddie Mercado has covered combat sports since 2015. He covers everything from betting odds to live events and fighter interviews. He holds a 1-0 record in pro MMA and holds a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu. (full bio)