There was to be no fairytale ending for Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 290. The heavyweight legend was stopped by Ryan Bader in the final fight of his career.

The 46-year-old went out on his shield in front of an audience that included Chael Sonnen, Matt Hughes, Rampage Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock, Josh Barnett, Royce Gracie, Mark Coleman and Renzo Gracie. He was facing the reigning Bellator heavyweight champion and a man who had already beaten him in 2019.

That fight lasted just 35 seconds and while Emelianenko lasted a little longer at the Kia Forum the outcome was identical. Both men launched big right crosses at the start of the fight.

Bader soon landed with a stiff jab and a left hook which left Emelianenko with a cut on the bridge of the nose. The champion then got on the inside before dropping the Russian with a monster right hand.

Ground and pound

Bader immediately began dishing out some heavy ground and pound to leave more blood on the face of his opponent as he did outstanding work from top position. Having found joy with elbows and punches the UFC veteran switched to hammer fists as he sought to finish the fight.

Emelianenko was struggling as he turned his back on Bader who unleashed countless left hands before Herb Dean waved the fight off with 2.30 on the clock. It was not the ending the Pride veteran deserved but the 47 year old was grateful to see so many MMA legends cageside for the fight,

“On one side, I’m sad, of course, that I didn’t deliver in the fight like I wanted to. But on the other, I’m so happy that all these people are here cheering for me, and all these veteran fighters that walked the path with me for almost the last 20 years are here to greet me. I’m very happy. I’m so happy to see all the fighters that are here to support me. Thank you so much.”

Fedor drops to 40-7 while Bader improves to 31-7 and remains the Bellator heavyweight champion. After the fight he paid tribute to Emelienanko,

“It was bittersweet. I idolize him like every other MMA fan and fighter coming up. That man is a legend right there, and I’m so glad I could be a part of his story so thank you very much, Fedor. You’re the man”

Bellator 290, Inglewood, February 4th
Ryan Bader (c) def. Fedor Emelianenko via TKO (Punches) at 2:30 of R1
Johnny Eblen (c) def. Anatoly Tokov via Decision (Unanimous)
Brennan Ward def. Sabah Homasi via TKO (Head kick and punches) at 1:34 of R2
Lorenz Larkin def. Mukhamed Berkhamov via KO (Elbow) at 1:41 of R1
Henry Corrales def. Akhmed Magomedov via Decision (Unanimous)
Ali Isaev vs. Steve Mowry via Draw (Unanimous)
Chris Gonzalez def. Max Rohskopf via TKO (Punches) at 1:22 of R1
Grant Neal def. Karl Albrektsson via Decision (Split)
Diana Avsaragova def. Alejandra Lara via Decision (Split)
Nikita Mikhailov def. Darrion Caldwell via Decision (Unanimous)
Yusuf Karakaya def. Ethan Hughes via Decision (Unanimous)
Isaiah Hokit def. Peter Ishiguro via Decision (Unanimous)
Jaylon Bates def. Jornel Lugo via Decision (Split)
Neiman Gracie def. Dante Schiro via Decision (Unanimous)