Ryan Bader made the primary protection of his Bellator heavyweight title since 2019 as he fought at Bellator 273 on Saturday evening. In opposition to a recreation interim champion Valentin Moldavsky, Bader was in a position to retain and unify the belts.
Contained in the Footprint Heart in Phoenix, Bader beat the red-hot Valentin Moldavsky through unanimous determination (48-47, 48-47, 48-47). Bader needed to battle again a number of occasions in opposition to Moldavsky’s energy in a contest that was shut from starting to finish.
“Clearly, it was a extremely shut battle, and on the finish there, I am like, man, that is a toss-up,” Bader mentioned after the battle. “I felt like I did extra injury, but it surely felt so good contemplating the final battle was a battle I misplaced. But it surely was a back-and-forth, even battle the entire 5 rounds. It is simply anticlimactic to go on the market and have an thrilling heavyweight championship five-rounder with a tricky dude in Arizona. I wished that dangerous.”
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Bader made a direct influence within the first spherical as he landed an enormous proper. Moldavsky recovered with a takedown, however Bader landed a proper and a takedown of his personal. It felt as if Bader felt snug once more at heavyweight following a very long time at mild heavyweight.
In Spherical 2, Bader landed a knee to the groin, which paused the motion. He later landed a proper hand and continued to select his battles when it got here to his energy. Moldavsky discovered a approach to get well and land one other massive takedown. He landed one more and had Bader on the ground, pounding away at him till the spherical ended. A giant key in his assault was having Bader by the cage. Bader realized he would have a busy evening after that.
Within the third, Moldavsky had Bader by the cage but once more. He rag-dolled him within the air and took him down proper after. Holding onto Bader, Moldavsky tried a number of extra takedown makes an attempt. Bader landed massive elbows to dam him. Moldavsky continued holding onto Bader, which gave him a slight edge in place. It was unfamiliar territory for Bader.
Bader, realizing he wanted to do one thing massive, tried to use stress. He landed an enormous shot to Moldavsky’s face and prevented massive blows. Bader held Moldavsky down by holding the neck, however Moldavsky discovered momentum and pushed him in opposition to the cage. Reversing, Bader dropped Moldavsky and began to pound away whereas on his again. Moldavsky held onto the fence, which referee Mike Beltran was not having. Again up, Bader landed one other takedown and ended up in high place.
An enormous Spherical 5 would more than likely decide who would stroll out as champion, and each males, realizing that, gave it their all. They began swinging away at each other. Moldavsky landed a left hook whereas Bader hit a couple of massive photographs of his personal. Holding onto each other, they remained within the heart of the cage in a standoff. Bader landed a left and a knee to the physique, and Moldavsky answered with a one-two mixture to the face.
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Photographs had been traded, and Bader prevented injury from a takedown by getting up immediately. Moldavsky continued to use stress, however Bader wouldn’t go down. He landed laborious elbows to Moldavsky’s head by the cage and hit massive physique photographs. With 10 seconds left, Moldavsky landed an enormous takedown. It wasn’t sufficient to safe the win.
Bader landed 66 photographs in comparison with 78 by Moldavsky. The latter landed 9 takedowns in comparison with Bader’s three.
It was introduced after the battle that Bader will defend the heavyweight title on Could 6 in Paris in opposition to Cheick Kongo. It will likely be a rematch of their battle at Bellator 226, a no-contest following an unintentional eye poke by Bader.
“Bringing Bellator to France in 2020 was one of many highlights of my profession, and I knew that it was the beginning of a future of massive occasions in Paris,” Bellator president Scott Coker mentioned. “Right here we’re prepared for our second journey to France, and this time we’re bringing a heavyweight world title rematch that includes arguably probably the most recognizable French blended martial artist in our sport’s historical past. It is personally necessary to me to assist develop the game in France and provides these athletes an opportunity to carry out on a big stage.”
Bader is now 2-2 in his final 4 fights. The loss ended a six-fight win streak for Moldavsky.