Fedor Emelianenko lays down gloves, bids farewell to 23 year old MMA journey

At Bellator 290 in Inglewood, California, Fedor Emelianenko’s illustrious 23-year career came to an end when Ryan Bader won by first-round tko to keep the heavyweight title at Bellator.

Bader used a heavy right to knock down the 46-year-old, Emelianeko, before using ground and pound to end the event.

Many people believe that Emelianenko to be the best heavyweight of all time. He retired with 40 victories in 48 contests.

After losing, he was joined in the cage by several of his past opponents and fellow MMA icons like Randy Couture, Mark Coleman, and Dan Henderson. Emelianenko then laid down his gloves on the canvas.

Emelianenko said:

“On one side I’m sad I didn’t deliver in the fight as I wanted to, but on the other hand I’m glad the crowd here are cheering for me, and all these legendary fighters who I’ve walked the path with are here to support me,”

Emelianenko built his reputation in Japanese promotion Pride, where he won the heavyweight title. He had an unbeaten record of 28-fights at the time. His combative demeanour and high finishing percentage earned him fans from all over the globe. He had 32 stoppages out of 40 victories.

Critics have referred to Emelianenko as the finest fighter to never participate in the sport’s largest organisation since all of his success came from outside the UFC. As he entered the cage for the last time in the Kia Forum area, the fans gave him a thunderous applause.

He was seeking to become the oldest champion in the history of Bellator as he is the oldest fighter on the roster at 46 years of age. However, Emelianenko’s career did not have a happy finish. Like their previous encounter in 2019, Bader secured a stoppage quickly.

Bader made his fourth successful belt defence and became the first guy to defeat Emelianenko twice.

Bader said: “It was bittersweet but I had a job to do. Give him a hand for what he’s done for this sport. Guy’s a legend right here, I’m so glad I could be part of his story.”

“I don’t care about beating him twice, I care about sharing the cage with that man.”