Fedor Emelianenko seeks title rematch from Ryan Bader in retirement fight

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Fedor Emelianenko wants to end his career as Bellator heavyweight champion.

Bellator chairman Scott Coker will be thinking about making his wish come true to Emelianenko (40-6 MMA, 4-2 BMMA), but there are some key moments that need to line up before he takes a serious look at it.

Coker is currently planning an event in Moscow for the summer of 2022 that will serve as Emelianenko’s retirement game. The Russian recently inquired about a rematch with current Bellator champion Ryan Bader, if he were to beat Emelianenko’s teammate and interim defending champion Valentina Moldavsky in their unification bout at Bellator 273 on January 29.

“That’s what Fedor asked me,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “He said to me, ‘If Ryan beats Moldavsky, I want to fight Ryan Bader.’ That’s what he said. I said, “Well, let’s talk about it and I’ll give you other options in early January, then let’s see how the fight plays out and we’ll make a trade decision, Fedor. And And he said, “OK.” And that was it.

Emelianenko, 45, has fought for Bellator gold once before, but Bader stopped him with a 35-second TKO at Bellator 214 in January 2019 to win the belt and the heavyweight grand prize. Emelianenko, who has thrived in revenge during his career, apparently would love a chance at redemption and a storybook ending.

The scenario depends heavily on the outcome between Bader and Moldavsky, as Emelianenko would apparently have no interest in fighting his protege.

Even if that doesn’t materialize, Coker promises that Emelianenko’s fight for retirement will be a monumental moment.

Emelianenko received superstar treatment in October when he beat Tim Johnson in the first round at Bellator 269 in his native Russia.

Coker plans to resume his retirement there and allow the former longtime PRIDE FC champion to leave the sport on the appropriate stage.

“We have one more fight with him and we’re going to do something really big in Russia,” Coker said. “He deserves a king’s farewell with the career he’s had, and we’re going to give it to him.”

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