Fedor Emelianenko Eyes Bellator Title Rematch With Ryan Bader For Retirement Fight

    ByRoss Markey

    Jan 1, 2022

    Iconic former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion, and Grand Prix victor, Fedor Emelianenko is eyeing a Bellator heavyweight championship rematch against Ryan Bader for his final fight as a professional mixed martial artist, per the promotion’s leader, Scott Coker. 

    Emelianenko, a former PRIDE heavyweight titleholder, and the 2004 Grand Prix victor, returned to his native Russia for the first time in five years back in October, stopping former interim heavyweight title chaser, Timothy Johnson with a highlight-reel first round knockout win on home soil.

    The victory catapulted Emelianenko to the #3 rank in the official Bellator heavyweight rankings, although, many had speculated that the Russian veteran had made his final appearance in the sport.

    However, in the time since his October knockout win, the 45-year-old has been linked with one final outing under the Coker-led Bellator banner. And according to the promotional president, Emelianenko wants his final clash to come in the form of a re-run against current heavyweight champion, Bader. 

    That’s what Fedor (Emelianenko) asked me,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “He’s like, ‘If Ryan (Bader) beats (Valentin) Moldavsky, I want to fight Ryan Bader.’ That’s what he said. I said, ‘Well, let’s talk about it and I’ll give you some other possibilities in the beginning of January, then let’s see how the fight unwinds and we’ll make a business decision, Fedor, how about that?’ And he said, ‘Ok.’ And that was that.

    The above mentioned former two-weight champion, Bader, is scheduled to headline Bellator 273 on January 29. in a heavyweight title unification bout against Emelianenko’s compatriot, interim gold holder, Valentin Moldavsky. 

    Bader and Emelianenko initially met back in January 2019, where the former stopped Emelianenko in just 35-seconds with strikes to win the vacant Bellator heavyweight title and the promotion’s heavyweight World Grand Prix.

    Regardless of the result between Bader and Moldavsky at the end of January, Coker has claimed that Emelianenko will once again return to Russia for his final fight with the promotion, where they plan on providing him with a hero’s sendoff.

    We have one more fight with him (Fedor Emelianenko) and we’re doing to do something really big in Russia,’ Coker said. “He deserves a king’s sendoff with the career that he’s had, and we’re going to give it to him.