INGLEWOOD, Calif. — This champ-champ thing is becoming contagious.
Ryan Bader made short work of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko on Saturday in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament, dropping him with a left hook and finishing him in just 35 seconds with ground strikes to become the first Bellator fighter to simultaneously hold two belts.
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) January 27, 2019
After Conor McGregor (featherweight and lightweight), Daniel Cormier (light heavyweight and heavyweight) and Amanda Nunes (bantamweight and featherweight) did in the last two-plus years in the UFC, Bader pulled it off for the first time in Bellator history by knocking out of the sport’s icons.
Bader is now the light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, and he did it in style.
When the bell rang, the crowd began to chant “Fedor! Fedor! Fedor!” to encourage the long-time PRIDE heavyweight champion on. Bader was patient for the first 15 seconds or so, bouncing on his toes looking for an opening.
He threw a long left hook from the outside, that immediately dropped the legendary Russian. Bader, always a good finisher, raced in and ended any chance of Emelianenko getting up when he ripped him with a right hand as Emelianenko raised his shoulders off the mat.
Bader threw two more hammerfists before referee Mike Beltran stopped it.
Bader defeated Muhammed Lawal, Matt Mitrione and Emelianenko to win the tournament. Even though Emelianenko’s best days are long behind him, he remains an iconic and almost mythic figure within the sport and a win over him still carries a lot of weight.
The question is whether Emelianenko will continue to fight after this loss. He’s just 2-2 in his last four bouts and is no longer the invincible warrior who is seemingly impervious to pain, as he was in his PRIDE days.
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