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Bellator 290 – The Last of The Last Emperor

MMA legend Fedor Emelianendo competed in MMA competition for the final time Saturday night. He fought for the Bellator Heavyweight Championship against Ryan Bader. Things did not go in his favor, as Ryan was able to TKO Emelianenko in the first round of The Last Emperor’s final fight. This is Bader’s second win over Fedor, having won in the first round at Bellator 214 on Jan. 26, 2019.

The entire event was good and not just in terms of the fights. It featured three main card-type fights that were all spectacular, making for an entertaining night of fighting.

First up, on the main card, was Brennan Ward vs Sabah Homasi. This was an absolute thriller for fans. The reason is both men are specialists at inflicting damage on their opponent rather than preventing or mitigating damage inflicted on themselves. They are offensive KINGS. Great for the fans, but physically hard on both fighters. The first round went back and forth leaning in Sabah’s way. Between rounds, Ward got some needed coaching that helped him turn things around in the second and score a stoppage victory. Ward did use his grappling skills taking Homasi’s back at one point but it was for the most part a stand-up battle.

Next up, was a Middle Weight Champion bout between Johnny Eblen vs Anatoly Tokov. This one went the distance and Eblen defended his title convincingly. Tokov was a game opponent giving Eblen fans a bit of worry in the second. Big John Mcarthy says that he was close to giving Tokov the round until an elbow landed to put things back on Eblen’s course.

In the main event, we had a title fight between Ryan Bader and Fedor Emelianenko. This is reported to be Fedor’s retirement match. With all respect to both men, the Last Emperor did not look himself in this particular fight. Fedor showed he is capable of his known power and speed, but he didn’t have his usual timing and fight awareness. Perhaps at 46 years of age that is unavoidable. Bader won by ground and pound stoppage in the first round, becoming the only man in history to defeat Fedor twice in his MMA career.

The much-anticipated farewell ceremony for Fedor was very well done. Some of the sports biggest names from Fedor’s era came out to the event. Including, Chuck Liddel, Randy Couture, Quinton Jackson, Dan Henderson, Mark Coleman, Matt Hughes, Josh Barnett, and Royce Gracie. Each one came into the cage and shook the hand of, “The Last Emperor.” It was a memorable ceremony that fortunately was not overdone and very well could have been.

The Emelianenko Era is over, and perhaps it’s over later than it should be. Nonetheless, Fedor will not be fighting in the cage anymore. As time passes, we will learn more about his place in history. No doubt Fedor is an MMA legend and the other legends that showed up to his ceremony on Saturday night may help shine a light on how great his legacy truly is and will be.

Image via Bellator Instagram

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