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Bellator 214: Ryan Bader wins the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix

Bellator 214: Ryan Bader wins the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix

On January 26th, at The Forum in Inglewood, California, MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko (38-5) and Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader (26-5) concluded the Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix, fighting each other in the finals for the vacant Bellator Heavyweight championship at Bellator 214.  Prior to their fight, Bellator had not had a heavyweight champion since Russian fighter Vitaly Minakov defeated Alexander Volkov at Bellator 108 on November 15, 2013 to win the title. Several months later, he defended his title by defeated Cheick Kongo at Bellator 115 on April 4, 2014.  However, after his title defense, he left Bellator to continue his mixed martial arts career in Russia (he has since fought 7 times in the Russian MMA promotion Fight Nights Global). Although he was still under contract, because he had no intentions on fighting for Bellator, Bellator’s president Scott Coker stripped Minakov of his belt on May 2016.

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During the Grand Prix Finale, Ryan Bader only needed 35 seconds (of the first round) to TKO Fedor.  His first punch to land, a lead left hook, immediately sent Fedor to the canvas. As the dazed legend tried to sit up, Bader hit him again with a right hand, and referee Mike Beltran called the fight.  After the fight, Bader, who was now a champion in two divisions, said, "Heavyweight or Light Heavyweight, I want to defend both. We'll see where it is."


Aaron Pico versus Henry Corrales

Highly touted 5-1 MMA prospect  Aaron Pico, who also represented the United States in Freestyle Wrestling, and was a national Junior Golden Gloves champion, lost in the co main event to 16-3 Henry Corrales, who fights out of the MMA Lab in Arizona, under John Crouch.


Pico sent Corrales to the mat early on in the first round, when he hit him with a hard uppercut.  However, Corrales was able to quickly scramble back to his feet. From there, the two fighters traded punches, until Corrales landed a right hook right on Pico's chin, and knocked him out at 67 seconds into the first round.  This was Corrales' third knockout win in Bellator (he also knocked out Andy Main and Cody Bollinger), and was his fifth straight win since he moved to the MMA Lab in Arizona. He made the move after losing three straight matches previously (to Patricio Freire, Emmanuel Sanchez, and Daniel Strauss).


WWE's Jack Swagger's MMA debut

Jack Hager, better known as "Jack Swagger" during his days in the WWE professional wrestling organization, successfully transition to MMA by winning his debut match over J.W. Kiser with an arm-triangle choke at 2:09 of the first round.  While this was Hager's first professional MMA fight, he was also a former All-American wrestler at the University of Oklahoma. During the fight, Hager took Kiser down near the fence, and from his half guard, was able to secure the arm triangle choke after landing a heavy elbow.  


Other Notable Matches

Juan Archuleta, former King of the Cage Champion, extended his winning streak to 17, by defeating Ricky Bandejas by 29-28 decision.  Additionally, Abu Dhabi Silver Medalist, A.J. Agazarm, was not able to secure the victory in his MMA debut against Jesse Roberts. The fight was at a 160 pound catch weight, and Roberts was able to stifle A.J.'s takedown attempts and land cleaner punches to win a split-decision, 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28 over the Ohio State University wrestler and Gracie- Barra black belt.  


Bellator 214- Fedor versus Bader Full Results:

Main card

Ryan Bader def. Fedor Emelianenko via first-round KO (0:35)

Henry Corrales def. Aaron Pico via first-round KO (1:07) 

Jake Hager def. J.W. Kiser via sub (arm-triangle choke) (R1, 2:09) 

Juan Archuleta def. Ricky Bandejas via UD (29-28 x3)

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Adel Altamimi def. Brandon McMahan via sub (armbar) (R1, 1:16)

Undercard

Thor Skancke def. Jesse Merritt via submission (north-south choke) (R1, 4:26)

Jesse Roberts def. A.J. Agazarm by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Weber Almeida def. Odan Chinchilla via first-round TKO (3:04)

Art Rivas def. Sean Johnson via first-round TKO (4:30)

Jay Jay Wilson def. Tyler Beneke via submission (rear-naked choke) (R1, 1:31)

Ryan Lilley def. James Barnes via first-round head kick KO (1:03)

Craig Plaskett def. Ian Butler via unanimous decision (30-27 x3).

Desmond Torres def. Steve Ramirez via sub (arm-triangle choke) (R1, 4:21)

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