Valentin Moldavsky clashes with Ryan Bader in a heavyweight title unification bout at Bellator 273 on January 29th. This transpires at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, and broadcasts on Showtime.
Bader comes into this bout as the lineal titleholder who looks to secure the sophomore defense of this reign.
Ryan Bader captured the heavyweight championship initially by besting Moldavsky’s mentor. Bader halted Fedor Emelianenko via sub-forty second TKO stoppage in the first frame of their fight at Bellator 214 in January 2019.
The former dual division titleholder (at light heavyweight and heavyweight) returns to the division for the first time since his Cheick Kongo title defense in September 2019 at Bellator 226.
Bader’s last bout within the confines of the Bellator cage saw him ousted from the light heavyweight grand prix. This came in the semifinals via a Corey Anderson sub-one-minute TKO win at Bellator 268 in October.
Valentin Moldavsky captured his pugilistic permutation of heavyweight hardware last June. He did so by defeating Tim Johnson via unanimous decision at Bellator 261.
The hulking Russian looks to improve to 12-1 and solidify himself as Belaltor’s undisputed heavyweight champion in the process.
I spoke with Moldavsky at the pre-fight media day. Excerpts from our chat are below.
Rizin and Bellator’s co-promotional partnership and if Moldavsky would ever be interested in a Rizin return
“Maybe, I don’t think about this. Maybe in the future. I must defend my belt after I win. Hope I win and after the defense, if Rizin speaks about Bellator, maybe. I don’t think about this. It’s not my problem. It’s Scott Coker and (Nobuyuki) Sakakibara’s problem.”
Who Moldavsky sees as the first title contender should he get the desired outcome versus Bader
“I don’t know. I must win this fight and then, it’s all then. Now I must win. With him, I must defend my belt. Then we’ll see after the fight.”
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.