On January 30, the Bellator 273 mixed martial arts tournament was held in Phoenix (USA), which was attended by two legendary Russian fighters at once: Fedor Emelianenko and Khabib Nurmagomedov. They were seconds for Valentin Moldavsky and Islam Mamedov, respectively. MK-Sport talks about the main fights of the fighting show.
Moldavian lacked stamina
Emelianenko’s student Valentin Moldavsky had a good chance of becoming the organization’s heavyweight champion. To do this, he needed to defeat the American Ryan Bader , who has noticeably lost lately: he lost to Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson, but still held the promotion’s heavyweight belt, which he won in 2019, defeating Emelianenko by technical knockout in the first round.
Moldavian started the fight very casually. He flew into the attack and missed several strong blows to the head. It was clear that Valentine was in a standing knockdown, but he was able to recover after a few seconds. The first round was for the Americans, but the next two – for the Russian.
Moldavian began to act more competently, Fedor Emelianenko managed to get through to him. Valentin took the fight to the ground and acted in the style of Bader. These ten minutes were a real test for the American, a younger opponent dragged him along the cage flooring. It seemed that the victory was confidently going into the hands of the student of the Last Emperor, but the Russian did not have enough endurance for the final rounds.
The fight was not the most interesting and exciting, but the intrigue was present until the very end. Bader was able to gather all his strength and in the final stretches he looked better than Moldavian. Following the results of five rounds, the judges unanimously gave the victory to the American, who defended the belt in the heavyweight division for the first time.
His next fight will be against Frenchman Cheick Kongo in Paris on May 7th. Valentin Moldavsky will have to fight his way to the title again. True, it is worth noting that the Russian is not suitable for the heavy division, he looks too small. Maybe he should try his hand at light heavyweight.
If Bader defeats Congo in May, then in the summer he can have a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko in Moscow. And it will be epic. The last fight in his career, the Russian will hold against Bader for the title of the organization. A great chance to take revenge and retire with a trophy.
Mammadov did not have the audacity
In the co-main bout of the tournament, Islam Mammadov , a fighter from Nurmagomedov’s team , suffered an unexpected defeat. He fought former UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson , who lost his last three fights.
Mammadov, who was considered the clear favorite of the confrontation, had the worst fight of his career. In the first round, he found himself in a quandary when the American came in for a choke hold. The Russian was able to endure, but it took too much strength. In the second round, Islam already tried to strangle Henderson, but Benson was not going to give up. The duel was held in the style of jiu-jitsu, but the athletes did not manage to identify which of them was the more cunning fighter.
According to the results of three rounds, the opinion of the judges was divided: only one of the three gave the victory to the Russian. Thus, he suffered the second defeat in his career.
Bellator 273 Tournament Results
Sullivan Cowley (USA, 3-0) defeated Ben Parrish (USA, 5-2) by TKO in the first round
Lucas Brennan (USA, 6-0) defeated Ben Lugo (USA, 5-5) via submission in the first round
Nikita Mikhailov (Russia, 8-1) defeated Blaine Shutt (USA, 8-6) by TKO in the third round
Dalton Rosta (USA, 6-0) defeated Dwayne Johnson (USA, 6-3) via unanimous decision
Christopher Gonzalez (USA, 7-1) defeated Saad Awad (USA, 24-14-1) by KO in the first round
Enrique Barzola (Peru, 17-5-2) defeated Darrion Caldwell (USA, 15-6) by TKO in the third round
Sabah Homasi (USA, 16-10) defeated Jalil Willis (USA, 15-4) via submission in the first round
Henry Corrales (USA, 20-6) defeated Aiden Lee (England, 10-6) by TKO in the third round
Benson Henderson (USA, 29-11) defeated Islam Mamedov (Russia, 20-2-1) via split decision
Ryan Bader (USA, 29-7) defeated Valentin Moldavsky (Russia, 11-2) via unanimous decision. Fight for the Bellator Heavyweight Championship.