Bellator 214: Bader Shines, Pico Stunned
Ryan Bader left the UFC for an opportunity, and since he joined the Bellator roster he has grabbed that opportunity and then some.
Bader 35, introduced himself to the Bellator audience with a title-winning debut over Phil Davis in June 2017 and the still reigning light heavyweight champion became the latest double champ when he destroyed MMA royalty Fedor Emelianenko in just 35 seconds at Bellator 214.
The closing fight in the Bellator heavyweight Grand Prix was short and explosive, a left hook dropped Fedor heavily and the following punches in truth were not needed, the fight was over as soon as that left hook detonated.
Bader has won 5 straight fights since he left the UFC and has had only one defeat in 13 fights, and for the UFC it might be a case of one that got away.
Two belts will be hard to keep, and hopefully one of the two divisions doesn’t suffer as a consequence. Bader left the UFC to prove a point, few would doubt that point has now been proved.
In the co-main event, the red-hot heavily touted prospect Aaron Pico suffered another setback against Henry Corrales. Pico when on the verge of victory himself stayed in the pocket too long and his opponent landed a brutal right to drop Pico and derailed the hype train at 1:07 of the opening round.
The debut loss to Zach Freeman was seen as an inconvenient blip, but this defeat was a more serious setback. Title shots need to be forgotten and lessons learned. Pico is only 22, and is immensely talented and showed great maturity in attending the post-fight press conference and seems willing to learn from his mistakes. Pico talked about being more patient and reverting back to his wrestling and despite suffering his 2nd loss in 6 fights, the Pico story is far from over.