Fedor Emelianenko has a tall task ahead.
He’ll challenge Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader for the promotion’s vacant heavyweight strap.
Emelianenko and Bader have found their way into the finals of Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament to crown a new champion. The pair will square off in the main event of Bellator 214 from The Forum in Inglewood, California on January 26th.
Speaking on a media call to promote the event, “The Last Emperor” had nothing but good things to say about his opponent’s ability inside the cage (via MMA News):
“Ryan Bader is an exceptional fighter, probably one of the most toughest and skilled guys of this tournament. He has a strong wrestling background, but it’s not easy to hit Ryan. He’s got very good defense and [I have to make sure I don’t get hit]. The rest we’ll see in the fight.”
Emelianenko earned his way into the finals of the tournament with a first-round TKO victory over Chael Sonnen. He defeated “The Bad Guy” at Bellator 208 back in October. As for Bader, he defeated Matt Mitrione with a dominant unanimous decision win at Bellator 207. Now, he’ll attempt to become a double champion in Bellator with a potential heavyweight title win.
However, to do so, he’ll have to get past one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport.