One of the most significant events in mixed martial arts history goes down at Bellator 290 as the MMA world says goodbye to one of its most honored legends, Fedor Emelianenko. His retirement fight takes place against Ryan Bader for the Heavyweight title. Both fighters are legends in the sport, and fans don't want to miss this one.
Ryan Bader vs. Fedor Emelianenko
Odds: Ryan Bader -250, Fedor Emelianenko +190
Former Bellator double champion Ryan Bader is the longest-active reigning champion in the promotion. He's been the Heavyweight champion for 1468 days and counting, just 94 days short of breaking Patricio Pitbull's record of 1562. He's defeated Emelianenko once already at Bellator 214 when he knocked him out in 35 seconds. He plans to do the same again and leave no doubt as to whom is greater.
There may never be a man greater than Fedor Emelianenko. He reigned as the pound-for-pound #1 fighter in the world for ten years and is the consensus greatest Heavyweight of all time. He has nine wins against UFC champions, more than anyone in MMA history. His 14-0 Pride FC run is viewed as one of the greatest eras of mixed martial arts.
Johnny Eblen vs. Anatoly Tokov
Odds: Johhny Eblen -165, Anatoly Tokov +125
Current Middleweight champion Johhny Eblen is set to make his first title defense after defeating Gegard Mousasi for the title against Anatoly Tokov. He's 12-0 and one of the best grapplers under the promotion.
Tokov will take the fight to him no matter where it goes in order to realize Bellator gold. He's got a wealth of experience and nearly three times as many fights as his opponent.
Sabah Homasi vs. Brennan Ward
Odds: Sabah Homasi -160, Brennan Ward +125
After a tough start to his first big show opportunity in the UFC, Sabah Homasi has found his home in Bellator and looks to be reaching his potential. He's got three wins in under two minutes since his debut and is an explosive finisher everywhere the fight goes.
After illness, injury, and personal issues kept Brennan Ward out of the cage from 2017-2022, he made an emphatic return to action with two second-round knockouts. Seemingly improved from where he was, Ward is on a mission to be the next king at 170 lbs.
Neiman Gracie vs. Dante Schiro
Odds: Neiman Gracie -325, Dante Schiro +245
The current carrier of the Gracie legacy in Bellator, Neiman Gracie, has hit a few rough patches as of late. He is 1-3 in his last four and needs a win here. He's heavily favored to get it done with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu style.
Schiro went to a split decision with interim champion Logan Storley in his Bellator debut, quite an accomplishment even in defeat. However, his next two fights saw him go 1-1, and he's now being given a chance against a former title challenger to cement his place in the promotion's elite.
Lorenz Larkin vs. Mukhamed Berkhamov
Odds: Lorenz Larkin +180, Mukhamad Berkhamov -245
Lorenz Larkin is as much a veteran as you'll find in MMA. Having fought in Strikeforce, the UFC, and Bellator, he's faced a who's who of notable fighters. Some of his best wins include Jorge Masvidal, Neil Magny, Santiago Ponzinibbio, and Robbie Lawler.
After going 6-0 between 2018 and 2022, Lorenz Larkin was matched up with Mukhamed Berkhamov at Bellator 283. The pair fought for barely two minutes before the bout was stopped and ruled a no-contest due to elbows to the back of the head. Berkhamov was mainly in control of the bout and is favored to win the rematch, but don't count out the veteran.
Henry Corrales vs. Akhmed Magomedov
Odds: Henry Corrales +335, Akhmed Magomedov -450
After hitting a rough patch in his career following the biggest win in it against Aaron Pico,
Corrales earned his biggest career win against Aaron Pico at Bellator 214 and capped off a 5-fight win streak. Unfortunately, he'd hit a rough patch following the win, going 1-3 in his next four. However, recently, ha's seemed to have hit his stride again, stringing together two wins in a row, and now looks to make it three.
That'll be no easy task, as his opponent is another one of Bellator's most promising rising stars. He kept his undefeated 10-0 intact in his debut with a first-round submission. Hailing from Dagestan, he'll have a lot of expectations to meet in this fight.
Steve Mowry vs. Ali Isaev
Odds: Steve Mowry +120, Ali Isaev -150
This is a battle of undefeated titans in the Heavyweight division. Steve Mowry stands at a towering 6'8", being one of the only people that could make his 6'3" opponent appear small. He's finished all ten of his wins, eight in the first round. His arsenal consists of lethal grappling and devastating power in the striking department.
This preview could stop simply by saying Isaev is an undefeated Dagestani, but let's look further into it. He's got that patented grappling and, despite only being 9-0, has faced solid competition throughout his career in Fight Nights Global and The PFL. He's no simple grappler, though, as he possesses dynamic striking that has seen him get highlight reel KO's, including a wheel kick knockout.
Grant Neal vs. Karl Albrektsson
Odds: Grant Neal +100, Karl Albrektsson -135
Karl Albrektsson has already defeated the current Bellator Light Heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov and is one of the most highly touted prospects in Bellator. His loss to Jiri Prochazka came in a fight where he'd been winning for the vast majority of the bout before succumbing to a finish. His last fight was a massive upset loss to Karl Moore, and he'll look to bounce back and prove that he's still the future champion people believe him to be.
Grant Neal has every intention of stopping the hype train firmly in its tracks at Bellator 290. His imposing grappling and brute strength make him a tough challenge for any fighter, and he'll do whatever he needs to get his hand raised.
Diana Avsaragova vs. Alejandra Lara
Odds: Diana Avsaragova -130, Alejandra Lara +100
Avsaragova is one of Bellator's many rising prospects. She stands at 5-0 professionally, with all her finishes coming in the first round. She's back for the first time in nearly a year to prove she's still all the rage in the Flyweight division.
Unfortunately, Alejandra Lara has more to prove as she's desperately in need of a win. Her last three fights did not go her way, and she's currently 3-5 under Bellator's banner. This fight is a make-or-break moment for her, and she's looking to do anything to capture it.
Darrion Caldwell vs. Nikita Mikhailov
Odds: Darrion Caldwell +120, Nikita Mikhailov -150
Caldwell is in hot waters here as he's amid a 3-fight skid. This is a must-win fight for him with his back up against a wall. Don't let his 2-4 Bellator record fool you, though, as he's only lost to the best of the best in Kyoji Horiguchi, A.J. McKee, Leandro Higo, and Enrique Barzola.
Also coming off a loss to Enrique Barzola, Nikitia Mikhailov is 11 years younger than his opponent at 24 years of age. He'll try to maximize this athletic advantage with his imposing style.
Jaylon Bates vs. Jornel Lugo
Odds: Jaylon Bates +270, Jornel Lugo -350
Jornel Lugo is a Bellator veteran looking to bounce back from the only loss in his career, a decision against title challenger Danny Sabatello. With strong grappling and ever-improving striking, he wants to prove that he still belongs with the best.
Jaylon Bates is a 6-0 rising prospect, also no stranger to the Bellator circle, with all 6 of his fights having been with the promotion. He's also a great grappler, with 8 of his amateur and pro wins coming by submission.
Isaiah Hokit vs. Peter Ishiguro
Odds: Isaiah Hokit -600, Peter Ishiguro +420
Isaiah Hokit is a massive favorite heading into this one, mainly due to his wrestling skills and 2-fight finish streak. His MMA record sits at 2-1, all Bellator fights. His opponent, Ishiguro, also has a 2-1 professional record but a rich amateur career. While he is undoubtedly in place as the underdog, his experience could very well make the difference here. Keep an eye on this one.
Ethan Hughes vs. Yusuf Karakaya
Odds: Ethan Hughes -190, Yusuf Karakaya +160
The -190 favorite Ethan Hughes is the senior mixed martial artist with a 3-0 record compared to his Turkish opponent, who currently sits at 1-0. Hughes had a lengthy amateur career, amassing five wins and four finishes on top of his three professional wins, all of which have ended before the bell. Look for lots of grappling from both men with a willing striking game on the feet. This one should be exciting.