With a planned matchup between BELLATOR Light Heavyweight World Champion Vadim Nemkov and the legendary Yoel Romero unable to take place as scheduled, a blockbuster BELLATOR Middleweight World Championship bout between current champion and #5-ranked pound-for-pound athlete Johnny Eblen (12-0) and Team Fedor’s #3-ranked Anatoly Tokov (31-3) has been added as the co-main event for the promotion’s CBS debut this February 4 during BELLATOR 290 at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles.
BELLATOR 290: Bader vs. Fedor 2 will be headlined by undisputed Heavyweight World Champion Ryan Bader(30-7, 1 NC) defending his title in a rematch against MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko (40-6, 1 NC). The BELLATOR 290 main card will also include an explosive welterweight contest between Sabah Homasi (17-10) and longtime BELLATOR standout Brennan Ward (16-6) that is sure to produce fireworks.
The event takes place on Saturday, February 4, 2023, with the main card airing live beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. BELLATOR MMA, CBS and Paramount+ are all owned by Paramount.
Tickets for BELLATOR 290: Bader vs. Fedor 2 are on sale now at Bellator.com and Ticketmaster.
The undefeated Johnny Eblen vaulted himself to stardom with his BELLATOR 282 victory over MMA legend Gegard Mousasi to become BELLATOR’s middleweight champion, but his reputation as a world-class fighter has been climbing for some time. Eblen has been flawless since joining the BELLATOR roster in 2019, racking up victories over Mousasi, John Salter, and former CFFC champion Collin Huckbody in the process. Eblen’s dominance earned him the fifth position in the organization’s pound-for-pound rankings, and his inclusion on BELLATOR’s CBS debut reflects his impressive technical abilities and his stature as one of MMA’s finest talents. The 31-year-old former University of Missouri wrestler will face Anatoly Tokov in his first title defense, which will serve as the co-main event of this historic event.
Looking to spoil Eblen’s first title defense will be Team Fedor’s Anatoly Tokov, a fighter whose dazzling record is second only to his in-cage performances. A decorated combat sambo athlete, Tokov will be thrilled to fight for the prestigious BELLATOR middleweight title on the same night as his mentor Emelianenko. Like Eblen, Tokov has been perfect inside the BELLATOR cage. His 7-0 record with the promotion is replete with five highlight-reel finishes and a win over former champion Alexander Shlemenko. The former Absolute Championship Berkut titleholder is eager to add BELLATOR gold to his crowded mantle of accolades, and he will look to do so against a dangerous champion in Eblen on February 4. Fittingly, Tokov’s last fight — a first-round destruction of Muhammad Abdullah — also took place on BELLATOR 282, when Eblen decisively won the title. Their paths destined to cross with championship stakes on the line, Eblen and Tokov will square off in one of 2023’s can’t-miss fights live on CBS.
In addition, the BELLATOR 290 preliminary card has started to take shape, with the exciting inclusion of former welterweight title challenger Neiman Gracie (11-4) taking on the streaking American Top Team standout Michael Lombardo (13-3, 1 NC). Additional bouts include a re-scheduled bantamweight scrap pitting Grand Prix alternate hopeful Jornel Lugo (8-1) against undefeated prospect Jaylon Bates (6-0), and the always exciting Henry Corrales (20-6) returning to action at featherweight against Akhmed Magomedov (9-0, 1 NC). A women’s flyweight contest is also official, in which former No. 1 contender Alejandra Lara (9-6) squares off against undefeated challenger Diana Avsaragova (5-0), as is a light heavyweight tilt featuring Grant Neal (7-1) versus Sweden’s Karl Albrektsson (13-4). Lastly, a lightweight scrap featuring two former wrestling standouts in Chris Gonzalez (7-2) against former UFC athlete Max Rohskopf (7-1) is confirmed. All preliminary action will take place LIVE on the BELLATOR YouTube channel, as well as Pluto TV beginning at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
*Paramount+ Premium subscribers will have access to stream live via the live feed of their local CBS affiliate on the service as well as on demand. Essential-tier subscribers of Paramount+ and SHOWTIME subscribers will have access to on-demand following the live presentation.
BELLATOR 290: BADER VS. FEDOR 2 MAIN CARD:
CBS and Paramount +
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023 — 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT
Heavyweight World Title Main Event: #C-Ryan Bader (30-7, 1 NC) vs. #3-Fedor Emelianenko (40-6, 1 NC)
Middleweight World Title Co-Main Event: #C-Johnny Eblen (12-0) vs. Anatoly Tokov (31-3)
Welterweight Bout: Sabah Homasi (17-10) vs. Brennan Ward (16-6)
BELLATOR 290: BADER VS. FEDOR 2 PRELIMINARY CARD:
BELLATOR MMA YouTube Channel | Pluto TV
6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT
Welterweight Bout: Neiman Gracie (11-4) vs. Michael Lombardo (13-3, 1 NC)
Bantamweight Bout: Jaylon Bates (6-0) vs. Jornel Lugo (8-1)
Featherweight Bout: Henry Corrales (20-6) vs. Akhmed Magomedov (9-0, 1 NC)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Grant Neal (7-1) vs. Karl Albrektsson (13-4)
Lightweight Bout: Chris Gonzalez (7-2) vs. Max Rohskopf (7-1)
Flyweight Bout: Alejandra Lara (9-6) vs. Diana Avsaragova (5-0)
Welterweight Bout: Ethan Hughes (3-0) vs. Yusuf Karakaya (1-0)
*Card subject to change.
Please visit Bellator.com for additional information.
Updated schedule of BELLATOR events – click links for updated fight cards
Sat. Dec. 31 // BELLATOR MMA vs. RIZIN FF // Saitama Super Arena // Saitama, Japan
Sat. Feb. 4 // BELLATOR 290: Bader vs. Fedor 2 // Kia Forum // Inglewood, Calif.
Fri. Feb. 24 // BELLATOR 291: Amosov vs. Storley 2 // 3Arena // Dublin, Ireland
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.