Bellator 290 is set to go down this Saturday night (February 4, 2023) on CBS, which will feature a heavyweight championship rematch between division king Ryan Bader taking on Fedor Emelianenko in what will be the retirement fight. of the “last emperor”.
In the co-main event, Johnny Eblen will defend his middleweight title for the first time against Anatoly Tokov, while Brennan Ward takes on Sabah Homasi in a welterweight banger to kick off the three-fight main card.
Before the six men get to work, let’s take a closer look at the three fights.
Champion Ryan Bader vs. Fedor Emelianenko
The whole week was dedicated to Fedor’s final fight, leaving Bader a bit out in the cold. Bader doesn’t care, though, and is fine with giving Emelianenko the spotlight as he walks away into the sunset…but not on fight night. Indeed, Bader is determined to play villain for the second time against a huge fan favorite in his last fight. “Darth” already has a lightning-fast first-round knockout win over “The Last Emperor” (review here), but he’s adamant there’s not much to take from that. fight since it happened so quickly. And he’s right. Since that loss, Fedor has racked up back-to-back wins by knockout, so not only does he have momentum on his side, he also has a rematch. Bader, meanwhile, is 3-2-1 since beating the Russian big man, losing his Light Heavyweight title along the way. But he’s also on a two-game winning streak. Will we get a repeat of the first fight? Probably not. Fedor wants to come out on top and nothing would delight fight fans more than to see that happen. He looked great in his last two outings, but Timothy Johnson and Quinton Jackson are no Ryan Bader, no disrespect. Although Bader hasn’t been as consistent with the wins lately, he is still fighting at a high level. While Fedor’s last two outings have ended in wins, some are struggling to gauge where exactly he’s being given competition. If it turns into a striking match, Bader has the power, but Fedor still shows speed with his punches. If it goes over a minute – which I hope – we may see which discipline prevails: Russian sambo or good old American wrestling. Everyone – minus Bader and his loyal fans – wants Fedor to come out with a title. But if he wants to accomplish that, he’ll have to be on his “A” game. Fedor has never gone five rounds, and I don’t see this fight going the distance. It’s hard to call, it really is. But let me go ahead and move forward with the bold prediction that will see Emelianenko cut Bader with an overhand right, and smash and pound him in the third round to end his tale. fairies.
Prediction: Emelianenko via third-round TKO
Johnny Eblen vs. Anatoly Tokov
It took Eblen seven wins inside the Bellator cage to earn his title shot, but when he got it he played a huge game, dominating Gegard Mousasi for five rounds at Bellator 282 to win the bracelet. Seven months out from that fight, Eblen is set to start his title reign in impressive fashion by putting his 12-0 record on the line against Tokov, who himself is on a seven-fight winning streak. Ranked No. 3 at present, Tokov has proven to be a dominant force at 185 pounds thanks to his exceptional grappling skills, which were honed with help from Fedor Emelianenko. With finishes during his winning streak — three knockouts, two submissions — Tokov is all about the business, get in and get out. But he can also take his enemies into deep waters and drown them. Doing this against Eblen could be troublesome as he has stamina and a tank of gas for days. It’s also tough to call, as both men are firing on all cylinders and both are well balanced. Eblen is a great wrestler, but Tokov’s wrestling is next level as it is with most of the Red Devil Sport club squad. It will come down to endurance as I really don’t see this one being a finisher. After 25 minutes of action, Tokov would have done just enough to earn the nod on the scoreboards, but not by much.
Prediction: Tokov via split decision
Brennan Ward vs. Sabah Homasi
On a recent media day (video here), Brennan Ward said he was assigned to open Bellator’s debut on CBS despite not having a number next to his name because he’s all in action…and he’s not wrong. He has only gone the distance once in his career and has racked up 16 saves in 16 wins. Since returning from a five-year layoff, Ward has been on fire and has two wins in 2022, both knockouts against Brandon Bell and Kassius Kayne. Against Homasi, he will face a similarly aggressively styled man who is coming off back-to-back first-round wins over Jaleel Willis and Maycon Mendonca. Ward also said recently that he doesn’t anticipate this fight going past the first round, with predictions calling for a hard knockout on his behalf. If it’s a barn burner he wants, he’ll get it against Homasi, which is a dangerous game to play against an overbearing foe like him. If this turns into a haymaking contest, it’s unclear who takes this one, as one clean punch can send the other home after a brief nap. That said, this is going to be a flip of a coin.
Prediction: Ward via first-round knockout
The Bellator 290 breaks down this Saturday night (February 4, 2023) inside the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, California. For full live stream results, click here.
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