Last night, in the main event of Bellator 214, light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader became Bellator’s first two-division titleholder, knocking out Fedor Emelianenko in less than a minute to capture the Bellator heavyweight title.
Heading into this fight, Ryan Bader says he drilled the very punch he used to topple Emelianenko many times. He knew there would be an opening when the Russian legend engaged, and practiced extensively to make sure he’d be ready for it.
“You know what? I saw that moment,” Bader said Saturday night at Bellator 214’s post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting). “And you can ask my team, we practiced that moment a lot. I saw that punch was going to do it. You can’t see his right hand because he throws from his hip. He’s very hard to see, he throws hard. But in doing so, you leave yourself exposed. And we felt that he was going to respect my wrestling a lot, and I could put one up top. If you look through any of the footage on the Countdown shows and all of that kind of stuff, we were practicing that punch the whole time. Throwing a jab, getting our distance, and then feinting and throwing that left hook, and we knew he’d be there.
“That’s a hard punch right there. He went down, and I saw that over and over again already, so it just kinda played out how we saw it.”
Interestingly, Ryan Bader is not the only fighter out there to capture gold in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions as of late. Daniel Cormier also recently accomplished that feat in the UFC.
Bader and Cormier have a bit of a rivalry from their shared days in the UFC, but for the moment, Bader doesn’t seem too interested in chasing a champ-champ vs. champ-champ fight with Cormier.
“I’m over that,” Bader said. “But he’s one of those guys, he proves himself over and over again. He’s a champ, in and out of the cage there, beating monsters. Nothing but respect from over here. It’d be fun to do a cross-promotion for the champ -champ-champ-champ, but we’ll see if that ever happens.”
What do you think the future holds for Ryan Bader after Bellator 214?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/27/2019.