Bellator 290: Fedor Emelianenko was preparing to fight Ryan Bader on CBS in February

Former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko’s legendary career will come to an end in 2023. Emelianenko will fight one last time when he faces heavyweight champion Ryan Bader for the title in the Bellator 290 on February 4 at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The card will air live on CBS, the first time the promotion has will air live on the network and the first time MMA has aired live on CBS since 2010.

The fight, which will be the first for 2023 Ascension, is a repeat of the January 2019 fight between the two. Bader won that fight via TKO in just 35 seconds to capture the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix and then-vacant championship. The win made Bader, who also held the light heavyweight championship, a two-division champion.

“We’ve worked tirelessly to make this brand the global powerhouse it is today, and a prime time slot on CBS has always been one of our primary goals,” Bellator President Scott Coker said in a statement. “With a healthy roster full of many of the best fighters in the world, along with rising elite prospects and legends of the game, I’m thrilled to bring this event to America’s most-watched network.”

Bader lost the light heavyweight title to Vadim Nemkov. He also lost to Corey Anderson in the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix. Since losing to Anderson, Bader has defended the heavyweight title against interim champion Valentin Moldavsky and Cheick Kongo.

Emelianenko became an MMA legend during his time at PRIDE FC. After making her debut with the Japanese promotion in 2002 with victories over Semmy Schilt and Heath Herring, Emelianenko captured the PRIDE Heavyweight Championship by defeating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the first fight of their tremendous rivalry.

After a winning streak of 27 fights in which he competed in Rings, PRIDE, Affliction and Strikeforce, Emelianenko lost three fights in the Strikeforce organization. After five wins, Emelianenko signed with Bellator and debuted for promotion in June 2017. He has since gone down 4-2 to Bader and Matt Mitrione while enjoying wins over UFC veterans Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Timothy Johnson.

Emelianenko remains the greatest fighter in MMA history who never fought in the UFC. His career record stands at 40-6.

The co-main event will pit Yoel Romero for the light heavyweight championship against the winner of the World Grand Prix light heavyweight final between champion Vadim Nemkov and challenger Corey Anderson. Nemkov vs. Anderson takes place on November 18th at Bellator 288.


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