Fedor Emelianenko vs. Ryan Bader is set to serve as the final bout of the Bellator heavyweight tournament.
Bellator President Scott Coker has already confirmed that the tournament final will take place at The Forum in Los Angeles, California on January 26, 2019.
Bellator MMA is finally going to crown its new heavyweight champion, which has been expected for some time. Thus, the Viacom-owned promotion brought back a tournament to find their heavyweight champion.
The company has been without a heavyweight champion since the title was vacated by then-champ Vitaly Minakov after Bellator decided to strip him of it in May of 2016 for failing to defend the title.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Ryan Bader
The main event of Bellator 207 on Friday night (October 12, 2018) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut saw Ryan Bader score a decision win over Matt Mitrione. This served as a heavyweight grand prix semifinal bout. Before this fight, Bader picked up a first-round knockout victory over Muhammed Lawal in the quarterfinals of this tournament at the Bellator 199 event on the Paramount Network at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
On the flip side, Fedor beat Chael Sonnen on Saturday night at Bellator 208 at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York by first round TKO. Before this, in the main event of the Bellator 198 event at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, on the Paramount Network, the MMA legend finished former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir with strikes in the first round. This bout served as the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinal bout. Emelianenko is a historic figure in the history of the MMA game and no doubt an MMA Legend.
“L.A. has a great MMA market, we have a great relationship with the Forum, and when you look at the fighter bases, there’s so many great gyms there,” Coker told the LA Times as to why they picked this location for the final of the tournament. “When I think about MMA in the United States, I think first of L.A., the Bay Area, Las Vegas and New York … L.A. is such a big hub. The guys know that when they fight in L.A., they better bring it.”