The main event of Bellator 214 was the final of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. In it, light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader knocked out Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko in half a minute. Securing the title of Heavyweight Champion.
RYAN BADER VS FEDOR EMELIANENKO
Bellator President Scott Coker has had mixed results with Heavyweight Grand Prix tournaments. His Strikeforce GP in 2011/12 was a bit of a mess, saved only by the emergence of a young Daniel Cormier. This time around went about as well as he could hope with probably the perfect finale. On one side you had the chance to finally get a major American belt around Fedor’s waist, on the other you could end up with a legitimate star in Bader if he held two titles.
As the bell rung Bader came out light on his feet, switching stances and lunging in and out with jabs. Fedor looked relaxed as ever in his orthodox stance with his hands low. Thirty seconds into the fight, Bader threw a leaping lead left hook that landed flush on Fedor’s jaw. As the Russian fell to the mat, Bader followed up with a big right hand on the ground and referee Mike Beltran dived in to call off the fight at the 35 seconds mark.
After the fight, Bader paid tribute to his legendary foe and stated his intention the defend both titles. By adding the heavyweight belt; and the heavyweight grand-prix belt, to his light heavyweight strap, Bader becomes Bellator’s first simultaneous two-division champion
AARON PICO VS HENRY CORRALES
In the co-main event, blue-chip featherweight prospect Aaron Pico suffered his second professional defeat in a wild fight that lasted just over a minute.
Pico took the centre of the cage working the jab, while Corrales fired off low kicks in return. When Corrales lunged in with an overhand right, Pico ducked under and landed a huge uppercut dropping his opponent. Corrales immediately scrambled to his feet and the pair started swinging from the pocket.
The fighters clinched and Pico was having success with body shots until Corrales, breaking the clinch, landed a bomb of a right hand over the top. As Pico started to fall Corrales followed him, landing a right and a left on the way down. Pico was out when he hit the mat. Referee Jason Herzog jumped straight in waving off the fight at 67 seconds into the first round.
Now on a five-fight win streak, Corrales called for a rematch with featherweight king Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire.
JAKE HAGER VS J.W. KISER
In a featured heavyweight bout, former WWE superstar Jake Hager (AKA Jack Swagger) made his professional MMA debut against J.W. Kiser.
In the lead up to this bout, Hager insisted on not being referred to by his ring name. That said he; or perhaps Bellator, leaned heavily on the wrestling gimmicks. Current WWE wrestler R Truth walked Hager to the cage, and he was introduced as a ‘former WWE Heavyweight Champion’.
Unlike some professional wrestlers turned fighters (looking at you CM Punk), Hager brought a legitimate competitive pedigree into the cage. Recruited by Oklahoma as a two-sport athlete, Hager was a Division I All American wrestler in 2006.
It was that wrestling background that would see him through this fight. As the fight started Hager walked his opponent down with jabs but ate a right hand from Kiser. Hager’s instincts kicked in as he pushed Kiser to the fence, clinched and dragged him to the mat.
From there, Hager’s superior ground game showed as he worked away from his opponents half guard. First looking for a kimura, Hager postured up and started throwing vicious elbows. One of these elbows forced Kiser to turn, and Hager was able to get his head under the arm to set up an arm triangle choke. Without needing to pass to mount, Hager dropped his weight and squeezed. Forcing the tap at 2:09 of the round.
While it remains to be seen how well-rounded he can be, Hager could be an interesting prospect. At 36, he’s not that old for a heavyweight, and he seems committed to MMA. When asked how much more we’d see of him in the cage he said, ‘a lot more’, adding that he saw this as being life for the next decade.
- Ryan Bader def. Fedor Emelianenko, KO (punches) R1 0:35 to win vacant Bellator Heavyweight Championship
- Henry Corrales def. Aaron Pico, KO (punches) R1 1:07
- Jake Hager def. J.W. Kiser, Submission (arm triangle choke) R1 2:09
- Juan Archuleta Ricky Bandeja, Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Adel Altamimi def. Brandon McMahan, Submission (armbar) R1 1:16
- Thor Skancke def. Jesse Merritt, Submission (north-south choke) R1 4:26
- Jesse Roberts def. AJ Agazarm, Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Weber Almeida Odan Chinchilla, TKO (punch) R1 3:04
- Art Rivas def. Sean Johnson, TKO (knees and punches) R1 4:30
- Jay Jay Wilson def. Tyler Beneke, Submission (rear-naked choke) R1 1:31
- Ryan Lilley def. James Barnes, KO (head kick) R1 1:03
- Craig Plaskett def. Ian Butler, Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Desmond Torres def. Steve Ramirez, Submission (arm triangle choke) R1 4:21