Photos By Bellator PR
LOS ANGELES – BELLATOR Heavyweight World Champion Ryan “Darth” Bader (30-7, 1 NC) and “The G.O.A.T.” Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko (40-6, 1 NC) previewed their anticipated main event showdown ahead of BELLATOR MMA’s landmark CBS Network Television and Paramount+ debut at a press conference Wednesday in Los Angeles.
The historic event takes place at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA this Saturday, Feb. 4 and will air live on CBS and on the Paramount+ streaming service at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
The BELLATOR 290 main event will see reigning titleholder and No. 6 pound-for-pound athlete Ryan Bader seeking to become the first man to ever defeat the legendary No. 3-ranked Fedor Emelianenko twice in the icon’s final fight of what has been an unrivaled heavyweight combat sports career. In the co-main event, newly crowned BELLATOR Middleweight World Champion Johnny Eblen (12-0) will look to make his first title defense against Anatoly Tokov (31-3). Eblen and Tokov were both also on hand to preview their fight at Wednesday’s press event.
CBS has a storied history when it comes to fights on it's network. Legends like Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks boxed each other. Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano made a names for themselves under the Elite XC banner broadcast through this station. Saturday, The Last Emperor makes his curtain call through the vehicle that launched his US career in 2009. Back then Strikeforce had 5.4 Million viewers tune in to see the storied Fedor fight.
In a week without football, and a UFC card with little name value, Bellator is positioned to be a topic of conversation in the sporting world. One person who is ready to step in the cage is Fedor's opponent, the champion Ryan Bader. He said, "I’m not frustrated that the talk in the buildup to this fight is all about Fedor." He also said, "Being on CBS was a big factor for me taking this fight. I started to think through it a little bit and anytime you’re in a Fedor fight, it’s a huge fight. I’m proud to be part of his legacy and have him be part of mine. "
Fedor said he's happy that many legends are coming to the Kia Forurm to see him off. As far as his legacy is concerned; Fedor said, "“I want to be remembered by MMA fans as an athlete who gained his popularity and his fanbase based on his skills. Based on his fighting skills, not based on his trash talking or any of that nasty stuff that’s popular right now. That’s how I want to be remembered.”
Bader dispatched Fedor in less than a minute to become the Bellator Heavy Weight Grand Prix and Bellator Heavyweight champion in the same building nearly four years to the date. Since then he's been undefeated at Heavyweight. Will "Darth" maintain that streak or will the Last Emperor have his last hurrah?