'I saw that moment': Ryan Bader describes visualizing KO of Fedor Emelianenko pre-fight (VIDEO)
Newly-crowned Bellator double-champion Ryan Bader says that he practiced the strike which felled Fedor Emelianenko on Saturday numerous times in training, having forecast that the exact sequence would take place in their fight.
Bader took a little over 30 seconds to beat the legendary Russian heavyweight to add the organization's heavyweight title to the light heavyweight belt he currently holds in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix in California last weekend.
The former UFC contender connected with a straight left which sent Emelianenko to the canvas, before following up with strikes on the ground to force the stoppage to become the latest member of the MMA's 'champ champ' club and, as Bader contends after the fight, it went down exactly as he predicted.
"You know what? I saw that moment," Bader said to the media following the event. "And you can ask my team, we practiced that moment a lot. I saw that punch was going to do it. You can’t see his right hand because he throws from his hip. He’s very hard to see, he throws hard. But in doing so, you leave yourself exposed. And we felt that he was going to respect my wrestling a lot, and I could put one up top."
"That’s a hard punch right there. He went down, and I saw that over and over again already, so it just kinda played out how we saw it."
Bader joined Bellator in 2017 as one of a series of high profile exiles to join the company from the UFC and his decision to do so appears a good one given the success he has enjoyed in his now home thus far. His run through the Grand Prix was nearly flawless, winning all three of his bouts with ease and his record with the company now stands at 5-0 (27-5 overall).Also on rt.com Right on the button! Ryan Bader KOs Fedor Emelianenko just seconds into their fight
The NCAA Division I All-American wrestler also reserved praise for his fallen opponent, saying that it was an honor to face someone of the Russian's pedigree.
"If I had the opportunity to fight any fighter, if you’d asked me when I started fighting, it would be Fedor," Bader said.
"That aura and mystique about him. And look what he’s done in this tournament — he goes out there and finishes two tough guys in the first round. And props to him. He comes out here, he does a heavyweight tournament with a bunch of killers and makes it to the finals. So I was very honored to be part of his story and now have him be part of my story."
Emelianenko, meanwhile, has released a statement following his defeat though the 42-year-old remained tight-lipped as to his fighting future.
“After the fight, I feel good, the dissection over the eye is not deep, yesterday I had several stitches," he wrote on Instagram.
"I think it will heal in a couple of weeks. I want to say thanks to everyone who helped me get ready, who came to the fight, and who got up early to watch the match. Thank you all for your support and your prayers. All the will of God."
The consensus best heavyweight in mixed martial arts history is now 2-2 in his Bellator run, with wins against Frank Mir and Chael Sonnen against losses to Bader and Matt Mitrione.Also on rt.com ‘Nothing to be ashamed of’: Tributes pour in for Fedor Emelianenko after shocking loss to Ryan Bader