Ryan Bader outlasts Valentin Moldavsky in a back-and-forth affair at Bellator 273.
Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader put on a gritty performance against Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 273 to retain his title.
Bader opened up with a flurry of punches in the opening seconds, wobbling Moldavsky and nearly finishing the fight. But, the tough Moldavsky was able to hold on and get the fight to the ground.
Moldavsky’s wrestling skillset would prove to be a key asset in Rounds 2 and 3. He eliminated Bader’s offense and was able to secure takedowns almost effortlessly.
Bader rebounded in a big way in Round 4, earning a big takedown near the fence and controlling half guard. He was able to land some hard ground-and-pound shots and not allow Moldavsky to work back up to his feet.
Moldavsky’s boxing began to find some rhythm in the fifth and final round. Both fighters appeared exhausted over the final five minutes, but Bader was the more offensive in the clinch as he squeaked out a unanimous decision victory.
Ryan Bader will face Cheick Kongo later this year
Bader came into the fight off of a tough knockout loss to Corey Anderson in the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix at Bellator 268. Before that, he earned a dominant win over Lyoto Machida to open up the tournament.
Bader lost his light heavyweight title against Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 244. It was one of the most surprising upsets of 2020 and eliminated his double-champion status. Bader earned the heavyweight title by winning the heavyweight Grand Prix over Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 214.
Moldavsky has emerged as arguably the next Russian MMA talent to burst on the Bellator scene. He earned the interim heavyweight title over Tim Johnson at Bellator 261 via unanimous decision.
Before getting his shot at the interim belt, Moldavsky earned impressive wins over the likes of Roy Nelson and Linton Vassell since signing with the promotion. He fell short of a Rizin title in a controversial split decision loss to Amir Aliakbari in 2016.
With the win over Moldavsky, Bader holds on to the heavyweight title and is off to a great start in 2022.