After 875 days, Ryan Bader will be defending his Bellator Light Heavyweight title inside the Bellator cage.
On Monday, the promotion announced that Bader will put his title on the line against the interim champion Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 273 on Jan. 29. The event will take place on January 29th inside the Footprint Center, which is also where Bader fought in October against Corey Anderson.
Ryan Bader last defended his belt on September 7th, 2019, that bout resulted in a no-contest after an accidental eye poke less than a minute into the fight against Cheick Kongo. From that fight to now he has directed his fighting career back at his natural weight class of light heavyweight and has gone 1-2 which includes losing his title to Vadim Nemkov.
His lone win came against a season Lyoto Machida and thus he is in need of a quality win to extend his Bellator legacy. He will also be coming off a knockout loss though at the hands of Corey Anderson as well so a win here will be massive for him on several levels.
The only thing standing in the way of him getting back on track though is the always tough and game Valenton Moldavsky as we mentioned. Moldavsky is currently riding a six-fight win streak dating back to 2017, he hasn’t finished a fight though since 2016. His lone loss came in the Rizin Openweight tournament and in his last fight where he won the interim heavyweight title against Timothy Johnson.
Both men will have a lot on the line, for Ryan Bader it’s about legacy and for Valentin Moldavsky it is about getting revenge for his mentor, Fedor Emelianenko, as he lost to Bader in 2019.
Tune in on Showtime as Bellator rings in the new year with a massive matchup.