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Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Finals (Bader vs Emelianenko): Odds and Predictions

Don Aguero

by Don Aguero in Mixed Martial Arts

Jan 16, 2019 · 7:14 AM PST

fedor and bader face to face
Fedor and Ryan Bader meet in the cage after Emelianenko wins his semi-final fight. Photo Credit: BellatorMMA (Youtube)
  • Bellator 214 takes place on January 26th, 2019 at The Forum in Inglewood, California
  • Fedor Emelianenko and Ryan Bader headline the night with the final of the Heavyweight World Grand Prix
  • The vacant heavyweight title is on the line

The Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix concludes with a showdown between the greatest heavyweight of all time and the current light heavyweight champion. It’s been a wild ride up until this point, with a curious mix of strangely interesting fights and horrible mismatches. In other words, it’s been everything we expected from Bellator!

Fedor Emelianenko and Ryan Bader meet in the cage on January 26th to headline Bellator 214. The vacant heavyweight title will be handed to the victor.

Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix Final Odds

Bellator 214 Main Event Winner Odds (01/16/19)
Fedor Emelianenko +290
Ryan Bader -380

Ryan Bader (26-5) is the clear favorite over Fedor Emelianenko (38-5, 1 NC) coming into the fight. That’s not particularly surprising given the fact that Emelianenko is into his 40’s and Bader is only 35, which is still quite young in heavyweight years. But is there any value in picking Bader at -380 odds?

Recent Record

Fedor Emelianenko has actually done quite well since returning from retirement in 2015, winning four of his five fights. However, his opponents have all been pretty mediocre. His first two comeback fights — against Jaideep Singh and Fábio Maldonado — were largely tune-ups. And his other two wins — against Frank Mir and Chael Sonnen — weren’t all that impressive either. Mir is currently on a four-fight losing streak and Sonnen is a natural middleweight.

Fedor Emelianenko has done quite well since returning from retirement in 2015, winning four of his five fights.

Ryan Bader has won all four of his fights since leaving the UFC for Bellator, winning the light heavyweight title in his promotional debut and then defeating the likes of King Mo and Matt Mitrione to advance to the final of the Heavyweight Grand Prix. He is currently undefeated in his last six fights.

Emelianenko vs Bader Tale of the Tape

38-5, 1 NC RECORD 26-5
42 AGE 35
6 ft 0 in HEIGHT 6 ft 2 in
76 in REACH 74 in
236 lbs LAST FIGHT WEIGHT 229.5 lbs
13 October 2018 LAST FIGHT October 12, 2018

Stylistic Match-up

This is one of the few times Fedor Emelianenko won’t be outsized by his opponent. Ryan Bader stands at 6’2” and weighs in at around 230 lbs when fighting at heavyweight. Emelianenko is just two inches shorter, at 6’0”, and usually fights at around 235. If anything, this is an advantage for Bader, who has spent his entire career fighting smaller guys at 205 lbs.

First and foremost, Bader is a wrestler. He’s a decent striker and a good all-round mixed martial artist, but it’s his wrestling pedigree that has gotten him to where he is. There were doubts as to whether his wrestling would be effective at heavyweight, but he put those concerns to rest when he smothered a heavy Matt Mitrione for three rounds.

Fedor is one of the most dangerous fighters in the clinch, so Bader will be wary not to rush into anything.

Fedor is one of the most dangerous fighters in the clinch, so Bader will be wary not to rush into anything. He’s got hands that can put away much larger opponents, and he’s deceptively fast for someone of his body type. His submission game is world class and he’s devastating when he establishes top control on his opponents.

Pick: Fedor Emelianenko (+290)

Emelianenko has age working against him but he’s been quite good in his last few fights. He’s clearly far past his prime and his body is starting to fail him, but there’s still some tread left in those tires.

We’ve seen Bader knocked out by heavy hitters and submitted by great grapplers. Fedor Emelianenko has the ability to do either. At +290 odds, he’s definitely worth a pick!

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