It was a rematch of their bout from January 2019, which Bader won by TKO in just 35 seconds to claim the vacant Bellator heavyweight championship. At Saturday's Bellator 290, heavyweight champion Ryan Bader once again defeated "The Last Emperor" by first-round TKO, ending the career of MMA veteran Fedor Emelianenko.
Emelianenko never really had a chance in the bout after being hit, bloodied, and knocked down just over a minute in. With relentless ground and pound and devastating hammer punches, Bader eventually put an end to the fight at 2:30 of the first round.
The 46-year-old Emelianenko entered Saturday with a two-fight winning streak over three years, defeating Rampage Jackson (in December 2019) and Timothy Johnson via knockout or technical knockout (October 2021).
Randy Couture, Royce & Renzo Gracie, Chuck Liddell, Josh Barnett, Chael Sonnen, Mark Coleman, Dan Henderson, Matt Hughes, Jackson, and Frank Shamrock were among the MMA greats present to celebrate Emelianenko's illustrious career.
Emelianenko (40-7-0) retired after never fighting for the UFC, despite there having been discussions for him to face Brock Lesnar in the past. He competed for PRIDE, Strikeforce, Bellator, RINGS, Affliction, BodogFight, M-1, and other organizations during the course of his nearly 23-year career. He worked at Bellator for the previous six years.