When is Bellator 214? Saturday 26th January, 2019 - 19:00 (US ET) / 03:00 (UK)
Where is Bellator 214? The Forum, Inglewood, California
What channel is Bellator 214 on? Paramount Network (US) / not available in the UK
Where can I stream Bellator 214? Bellator 214 is not available to stream in the UK
Are tickets still available for Bellator 214? https://www1.ticketmaster.com/heavyweight-grand-prix-finals/event/0900554FDC5B8E47
The finale of Bellator’s compelling heavyweight grand prix is upon us and hosted by the Forum in Inglewood, California. The tournament was created to fill the vacant heavyweight champion title as there hasn't been one since May 2016, due to contract disputes with the then champion Vitaly Minakov.
There is always a good excuse for a grand prix and the two men earning a place in the final are the current light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader and the legendary Fedor Emelianenko.
Let’s take a look at their path to the final:
After a retirement that lasted three years, Fedor returned to action in 2015. He knocked out Singh Jaideep and then went on to win a controversial decision against Fabio Maldonado that paved the way for a contract with Bellator. Unfortunately for him, Matt Mitrione welcomed him with a blistering knockout.
However, desperate to finish his sterling career on a high, he put on a vintage performance in the first round of the grand prix by viciously knocking out Frank Mir and repeated this feat against Chael Sonnen in the semi-final.
After raising many eyebrows by leaving the UFC as one of the top contenders in the light heavyweight division, Bader has won every Bellator fight. He has won four in a row: claiming the light heavyweight championship, then defending it, and is now one fight away from being the heavyweight champion. He knocked out Muhammed Lawal in the first round and earned a decision over fellow UFC veteran Matt Mitrione.
"The Last Emperor", Emelianenko, is widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight of all time and any fight he's involved in brings in heaps of viewers and attention. He creates a unique aura, and can appear unassuming, but he is lethal and dominated the Pride era which was occupied by some of the most dangerous fighters of all time.
The only question mark on his career is that he never competed in the UFC, unlike his opponent Bader who has claimed some big wins of his own. See below for a list of their notable wins:
Fedor has always been a perennial finisher, capable of a knockout or submission out of nothing, and you can guarantee he will seek another in predatory fashion. Despite the 42 years on his clock he still has speed, especially in his right hand, and if Bader makes any mistake he can expect it to be uncorked on his chin.
As there won’t be much difference in weight Bader will be confident in applying his skill set. He has 11 knockouts to his name - not because he is an elite striker - but because he utilizes his powerful wrestling to get his opponents to the floor and inflict brutal ground and pound.
So the game plan for Bader is clear and that is to get Fedor to the ground where he may prove stronger than him, but the Russian is a master of Sambo and is equally dangerous in the grappling exchanges. He is incredibly elusive in the scramble and can tie up submissions off his back but Bader can not afford to be on the bottom either as Fedor’s ground and pound is even more ferocious.
Five minutes is a long time for Bader to avoid making any mistakes, and to not get lured into a brawl. However, as fitting as it would be for Fedor to close the curtain with a chaotic knockout or submission, Bader has too much momentum, too much youth, and too much power and is likely to grind out a decision.
Winner: Bader via Decision