Johnny Eblen ends Anatoly Tokov’s 7-0 Bellator run, defends middleweight title at Bellator 290
Bellator MMA returns to us tonight, February 4, 2023, for Bellator 290, going down live from the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California.
Headlining the event is a world championship rematch between Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (30-7) and no. 3 ranked former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko (40-6) in what is to be the Russian legend’s last fight.
Co-headlining the event was also a title fight, this one coming at 185 lbs between Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen (12-0) and no. 3 ranked former ACB middleweight champion Anatoly Tokov (31-2).
Eblen was coming off his 50-45 sweep on the cards over all-time great Gegard Mousasi to claim the title back in June of last year, while Tokov had gone 7-0 thus far into his promotional tenure.
Continue reading to see how this middleweight championship co-main event went down:
Official Result: Johnny Eblen def. Anatoly Tokov via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)
After a close round one, Tokov gets off to a good start in the second with his boxing as he begins to bust Eblen’s face up. Toward the end of the round however Eblen lands a nasty elbow in close and momentarily drops Tokov. He then takes Tokov down and ends the round in dominant position.
Eblen drives Tokov halfway across the mat to secure a beautiful takedown at the beginning stages of the third. Tokov returns to his feet but is dragged back down to the mat quickly. This trend repeats a couple more times as Eblen starts to break Tokov.
The Russian escapes the position eventually and the two get back to striking range. Tokov continues to land his straight punches, while Eblen continues to land his seemingly heavier overhands and hooks.
Eblen ends up on top of Tokov once again one minute into the fourth, he just doesn’t get tired. This is beginning to look a lot like a Johnny Eblen fight, and a lot like his title winning effort over Mousasi. Tokov just doesn’t have much left at this point.
The fifth and final round showcases Eblen absolutely rag dolling Tokov, securing mat return after mat return throughout the entire second half of it.
JOHNNY EBLEN WITH THE GERMAN SUPLEX😱 @BellatorMMA pic.twitter.com/K1L2YbGbcC
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) February 5, 2023
Johnny Eblen is now 13-0 as a professional mixed martial artist, and he’s now gone 2-0 in world title fights against elite champion opponents.
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.