Fedor in limbo after puzzling Bellator decision

Fedor Emelianenko

This past Saturday at Bellator 273, the heavyweight championship was on the line. The heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (29-7, 1 NC) was taking on the interim champion Valentin Moldavsky (11-2). One man who was particularly interested in the main event was Fedor Emelianenko (40-6).

The all time great is Moldavsky’s lead trainer but he’s also a top contender in Bellator’s heavyweight division. Fedor has won back-to-back fights which has put him right back in the title picture. He made it clear that if Bader won the matchup at Bellator 273, he wanted to fight Bader in his retirement fight.

Moldavsky and Bader had a very close fight. Both men had their moments and it really came down to the fifth and final round. Bader was able to dig down deep and do enough to secure the final round. In the end, he walked away with a decision victory and his hand raised at Bellator 273.

In the minds of most, this seemingly setup a retirement fight for Fedor for the title. You couldn’t write a better script, except that’s not the direction the promotion went in. After the fight was over, Cheick Kongo (31-11-2) entered the ring and was announced as the next challenger.

Bellator’s Puzzling Decision

On May 6th, Kongo and Bader will fight in Paris for the Bellator heavyweight title. The two men fought for the title a few years ago and the fight ended early after an accidental eye poke. Kongo would go on to lose to Tim Johnson who would then lose to Valentin Moldavksy in the interim title fight.

After Johnson lost to Moldavsky, he fought Fedor and Fedor knocked him out. I have to be completely honest and say that I don’t understand this booking decision at all. There’s no one else in the heavyweight division that Bellator can book with Fedor to make it a big fight. They had a big opportunity and just didn’t pull the trigger.

I get it, Kongo fighting for the title in Paris would draw interest. However, he just fought in Paris against Tim Johnson and lost. The man who beat him was knocked out by Fedor who is one of the greatest of all time. Fedor deserved this shot at the title, no disrespect to Cheick Kongo.

To be honest, I don’t know where we go from here. Scott Coker mentioned that Bellator has other heavyweights that can fight Fedor in his retirement fight. I don’t know who he’s really talking about in terms of making a compelling fight. Big missed opportunity in my opinion.