Fedor Emelianenko’s retirement fight against Ryan Bader to headline Bellator 290 on CBS in February

By Josh Evanoff - November 18, 2022

Bellator’s debut on CBS next year has some serious star power.

Ryan Bader, Fedor Emelianenko

‘The Last Emperor’ has been out of the cage since his knockout win over Timothy Johnson in October 2021. Following the victory, Emelianenko revealed he would only compete one more time. He subsequently called for a rematch with Ryan Bader.

The pair first faced off in January 2019 in the finals of the Bellator heavyweight Grand Prix. Bader easily won by knockout in the first round, becoming the heavyweight champion. He’s since defended the title against names such as Cheick Kongo and Valentin Moldavsky.

Earlier this year, Scott Coker revealed that Fedor Emelianenko had been continuously lobbying for the rematch privately. While the promoter didn’t seem as hot on the idea at the time, he’s seemingly changed his mind.

As first broken by CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri, Fedor Emelianenko will rematch Ryan Bader at Bellator 290 on February 4th. The pair will headline Bellator’s debut on CBS. It’ll be the first time that MMA has aired on the network since Strikeforce in 2010. The card will also air on the Paramount Plus app.

Yoel Romero, Bellator 266

Yoel Romero at Bellator 266

While the heavyweight title fight can stand on its own, there’s also a big co-main event as well. In the co-feature, Yoel Romero will challenge the winner of Vadim Nemkov vs. Corey Anderson 2 for light-heavyweight gold. The two 205-pound contenders will face off tonight on Showtime.

For his part, ‘Soldier of God’ is riding a two-fight winning streak in the Bellator cage. Romero has scored two knockout wins over Melvin Manhoef and Alex Polizzi, giving him a lot of momentum heading into the title shot.

As of now, no other matchups have been announced for the event. However, fans can expect more fights for the card to be announced in the weeks to come.

What do you make of this news? Are you excited about the event? Sound off in the comment section below PENN Nation!


Bellator Fedor Emelianenko Ryan Bader Yoel Romero