Bellator 290 Recap: Bader Crashes Party, Eblen Dominates

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Bellator 290 was a celebration of the career that was Fedor Emelianenko regardless of the outcome of his title bout with Ryan Bader. Legends were on hand, he was getting the show he deserve but never wanted.

What would ensue was something that left Ryan Bader in the record books and MMA fans sad that a legend went out once again the wrong way in the cage.

Bader showed he has a new home at heavyweight by defending his title but there were also two other impressive performances on the main card. Johnny Eblen dominated Anatoly Tokov and both Sabah Homasi and Brennan Ward put on a show to kick things off.

Bader Enters History Books, Emelianenko Bids Farewell

Entering Bellator 290, no one had beaten Fedor Emelianenko twice in his entire 47-fight career and after Saturday that record is no longer standing. For Emelianenko, nine of his last ten bouts had ended in round one and that was the case once again as Ryan Bade made quick work of him.

Bader scored a knockdown by clipping Emelianenko behind his left ear with a hook and from there he blitzed him on the ground and never let him recover. Bader now continues to carve out a heavyweight legacy that is undefeated in Bellator while another leaves the sport.

Johnny Eblen is the Real Deal

When studying both Johnny Eblen and Anatoly Tokov this week, we thought Tokov would end up blitzing Eblen and getting the win. I was wrong, so very wrong.

Johnny Eblen made Anatoly Tokov, who has a record of 31-2 heading into the bout, look like he was nothing more than a sparring partner. He secured 13 takedowns with the most impressive one coming via a german suplex with one minute remaining in the final round. 

Eblen didn’t just out-wrestle and grapple Tokov though, he was piecing him up with his boxing as well. He had a one-two combo that just kept coming down the pipe and was landing time and again on Tokov. Eblen is very much in the discussion for best middleweight on the planet now, Bellator’s middleweight division at this point doesn’t have anyone to test him sadly.

Brennan Ward Completes the Comeback

A major talking point heading into Bellator 290 was the fact that both Sabah Homasi and Brennan Ward were kicking off the card on CBS. The talking point was how these two would deliver chaos, which it did, but it was also the comeback story of Ward coming full circle. 

The first round saw Homasi nearly knockout Ward but he was able to weather the storm with just a bad cut under his left eye. He came out in round two with a determination to get his back and he did just that. He was able to survive some more knees from Hobasi before he rocked him with a head kick and then finished things off on the ground with punches. 

Ward wrapped things up by asking Scott Coker for a title shot at welterweight and if that isn’t possible then he would move up to middleweight. With Ward clean and sober, he has made himself a force to be reckoned with in either division with now three wins in a row.

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