Bellator 290 is being talked about because it is the swan song performance of a sports legend in Fedor Emelianenko. The undercard leading up to the main card and the final fight of The Last Emperor’s career was loaded.
So many great matchups and notable names that it had to even add a postlim card due to the fights we did see going as long as they did.
The card started slowly with several drawn-out decisions but within the final hour before the main card on CBS, the action picked up. Out of the seven preliminary card bouts that were seen, there were three notable stars that stuck out.
With a significant background in wrestling, Chris Gonzalez impressed with his standup tonight and showed he can bounce back from a loss. He knocked out Max Rohskopf in round two of their scheduled three rounds and did so impressively. He was able to rock Rohskopf with a hook and followed up with some ground and pound to finish things out. Gonzalez could become a player in the lightweight division if he can keep things rolling, and perhaps can earn a rematch with Usman Nurmagomaedov down the road.
It is not often that a fighter gets a draw and should be happy about it but that is the case with Ali Isaev. After winning round one against Steve Mowry, Isaev was dominated in round two. He was outstruck by nearly 60 strikes and was almost submitted twice in the process. He responded to that one-sided beatdown by delivering one of his own in round three. While he couldn’t overcome the 10-8 round from Mowry in round two, he showed heart and determination. That may be enough for Scott Coker to perhaps run this back or give him stiffer competition.
Lorenz Larkin was once one of the more significant free-agent signings by Bellator when he joined them in 2017. Despite losing his first two bouts, to Paul Daley and Douglas Lima, he has now won his last seven bouts and has finished his last two. Against Mukhamed Berkhamov he scored arguably his most vicious win by winning via an elbow strike to the temple which flatlined Berkhamov in round one. Larkin has quietly made himself a force in the Bellator welterweight division after being ranked in the top ten of the UFC.
Even 𝘾𝙍𝘼𝙕𝙄𝙀𝙍 in slow-motion. What a KO by @da_MONSOON!
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) February 5, 2023