Bellator 214 results, highlights: Ryan Bader crushes Fedor Emelianenko to become double champion
Bader needed just 35 seconds to finish off the legendary Emelianenko in Inglewood, California
One left hook and 35 seconds into the final of the Bellator MMA Heavyweight World Grand Prix tournament on Saturday, Ryan Bader knocked out Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko while carving out a little history of his own.
Bader (27-5), the promotion's reigning 205-pound titleholder, became the first simultaneous two-division champion in Bellator history with a first-round knockout of the greatest heavyweight the sport has ever known.
In the process, the former perennial UFC light heavyweight contender who never quite secured a title shot, may have reached his full potential as a mixed martial arts fighter following three dominant victories in the tournament while making his debut in a new division.
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"I had a great night but first and foremost I want to give it up to that man sitting across the cage from me," Bader said of Emelianenko. "I had a great night but he has had a storied career and is one of the best to ever do it. It's an honor for me to be in the cage with him and win the heavyweight title competing against that man. I have a ton of respect for him."
Bader, 35, became the first Bellator heavyweight champion since Vitaly Minakov was stripped in 2016 following two years of inactivity. He did so by connecting with the first significant strike he threw -- the same sneaky left hook he used to finish Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in just 15 seconds in their first-round matchup in May -- which dropped Emelianenko (38-6, 1 NC) hard.
After Bader leaped in for a right uppercut, referee Mike Beltran quickly waved off the fight to rescue the 42-year-old legend, who spoke publicly about the possibility of retirement regardless of whether he won after a 19-year career.
"I was trying to keep it away [during introductions] but it crept up there that I was fighting Fedor, one of the greatest of all time," Bader said. "It's surreal. I have a ton of respect for him to where he's at and to keep fighting but what a night.
"I saw that he went down pretty hard. I didn't want to follow up but they didn't stop it yet so I went in. We were practicing that in the back all camp. He keeps his hand down. He throws hard and I was looking for him. He was setting up that right hand but I beat him to the punch right there."
Bader, who captured the light heavyweight title in his 2017 Bellator debut by split decision against Phil Davis, improved to 5-0 with the promotion and 12-1 overall since 2013.
"My team and I have to get with Bellator and figure out where we want to be but I want to defend both [titles] for sure," Bader said.
CBS Sports was with you for every punch, kick and submission attempt from The Forum in Inglewood, California, with our live blog below. If you are having trouble viewing the blog, please click here.
Bellator 214 fight card/results
Ryan Bader (c) def. Fedor Emelianenko via first-round TKO (punches)
via first-round TKO (punches)
via first-round submission (arm triangle)
Juan Archuleta def. Ricky Bandejas via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Adel Altamimi def. Brandon McMahon via first-round submission (armbar)
Bellator 214 updates, highlights
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