From the debut of Jake Hager to the stunning co-main event knockout of Aaron Pico, Bellator 214 had it all. The main event between Fedor Emelianenko and Ryan Bader capped off an exciting night of fights. This fight was the culmination of a tournament that began all the way back at Bellator 192. With Vitaly Minakov inactive, Bellator needed to crown a new heavyweight champion. They did so Saturday night with Bader.
This fight started and ended with the very first punch. “The Last Emperor” may have just had father time catch up to him. He had a great run but just like old English times, the King is dead long live the King. Bader won the fight in 35 seconds with a left hook that put Emelianenko on the mat. He followed up with punches on the ground, but by that point, it was all academic, Fedor was out.
“It doesn’t get any sweeter than beating Fedor,” Bader said post-fight. The new heavyweight champion also said that getting this fight was something he’s wanted his whole career. “If I could pick any fight when I started it would have been Fedor…I’m proud to be part of Fedor history.”
For Ryan “Darth” Bader he becomes the first active double weight division champion in Bellator history. He follows what is becoming a trend of double champions, Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, and Amanda Nunes. What is next for Bader? Does he defend both belts or will he drop one? Bader spoke post-fight like he wanted to actively defend both belts, something none of the recent champ champs have had an opportunity to do.
Through three fights in the tournament, Bader scored two early knockouts to begin and end the tournament with one dominant decision in between. If there was an MMA version of a no-hitter, Bader may have just executed it. When asked post-fight if he absorbed one punch all tournament, Bader had to think about it but shrugged it off.
“I don’t think so.”
Bellator finally has a heavyweight champion, and MMA may have lost one of its all-time greats.