Fedor Emelianenko retirement bout set: facing Ryan Bader for the title at Bellator 290

Fedor Emelianenko and current Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader were announced as the main event of Bellator 290.

The event will take place on February 4, 2023, at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California.

Bellator CEO Scott Coker stated in a press release,

“We have been working tirelessly on growing this brand into the global powerhouse it is today and a primetime slot on CBS has always been one of our key objectives.”

“With a healthy roster full of many of the world’s very best fighters, along with elite up-and-coming prospects and legends of the game, I’m very excited to showcase this event on the most-watched network in America.”

Emelianenko and Bader had previously squared off at Bellator 214. Emelianenko lost to Bader in the Heavyweight World Grand Prix finals more than three years ago via knockout in only 35 seconds.

At Bellator 237 and Bellator 269, Emelianenko bounced back with first-round knockouts of Quinton Jackson and Timothy Johnson.

Emelianenko said that he had one more left on his current Bellator contract after defeating Johnson. He then set his eyes on a rematch with Bader despite the talks with Anderson Silva.

MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko is really taking MMA seriously both inside and outside the cage . The last emperor recently took on a new position in the Russian MMA Union.

Now 46 years old, Emelianenko was to have a retirement bout in Moscow. But unfortunately, the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine made that impossible and Bellator backed out of the original plan.

Emelianenko is widely respect and considered one of the Greatest of all time by his peers despite his talks with UFC falling apart.

In 2009, the UFC reportedly offered Fedor a contract worth just under 2 million US dollars per bout plus incentives, but the negotiation failed. And in 2012, Dana White tried to lure Emelianenko out of retirement again due to fans wanting Fedor to face Brock Lesnar.

Shane Carwin, revealed on Twitter that the UFC tried to lure Fedor again back in 2016. He said the UFC asked him and some other heavyweight fighters to make a call-out video in order to anger Fedor.

The tactic didn’t work – UFC athletes were unwilling to make the video.

“When I was on TUFr TV project, people like Royce Gracie, Fedor Emelianenko, BJ Penn were celestials for me,” Diaz said in an interview with ESPN.
“If I then went to the mall and met Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Leonard DiCaprio, any of the most famous actors you can imagine, and then saw Royce Gracie, Fedor Emelianenko or BJ Penn, I would not even pay attention to De Niro”

“These guys were at an unattainable height – they were for me the most famous people in the world. All these guys who have UFC gold think they are the best just because the organization said so, this huge machine named them the best, but I know who the real best is Royce Gracie, Fedor, BJ Penn. They are the people who got me into this business.”