Ryan Bader
Darth

USA

To defend LHW belt
Light HeavyweightBellator
July 30, 2020
Bader will defend his Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship against Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 244 on August 21, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
This was a matchup originally scheduled for May 9, but like all Bellator events for several months, it was postponed due to the pandemic. Now, Bader has a time and place for his first fight at 205 pounds since he defended his belt against Linton Vassell all the way back in November of 2017. Since then, Bader has been focused on winning the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix and defending his belt in that division. Meanwhile, Nemkov has built a six-fight winning streak against the top light heavyweights Bellator has to offer. Nonetheless, Bader was approximately a (-175) betting favorite the first time around, and not much has changed since.
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Bellator 242 postponed
Light HeavyweightBellator
March 30, 2020
Bader will no longer defend his light heavyweight title at Bellator 242 in San Jose after the promotion postponed the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Bader had been listed as a (-175) betting favorite for his first fight at 205 pounds since 2017, prior to the start of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. The current two-division champion will hold that title indefinitely, with Bellator cancelling all three of its events that had been scheduled for the month of May.
Set to fight Nemkov
Light HeavyweightBellator
January 26, 2020
Bader will defend his light heavyweight title against Vadim Nemkov on May 9 at the SAP Center in San Jose.
ANALYSIS
Bader will look to bounce back from his initial title defense against Cheick Kongo which unfortunately ended in a no-contest due to an accidental eye gouge. Rather than giving Kongo another shot, he will take on Nemkov, who enters the matchup on a six-fight win streak and an overall record of 11-2. Despite the challenger's impressive resume, Bader will almost certainly be the betting favorite leading up to the contest.
Tough break results in no-contest
Light HeavyweightBellator
September 8, 2019
Bader fought Cheick Kongo to a no-contest in their heavyweight title fight at Bellator 226 on Saturday in San Jose.
ANALYSIS
While Bader will retain his heavyweight championship, he won't get a win on his record due to the unfortunate outcome. This fight was Bader's from the opening bell, as a left hook hurt Kongo early and sent him backwards against the fence. Kongo tried to buy time with a takedown, but was stuffed. Bader responded with a takedown of his own, and eventually had Kongo mounted and was raining down shots. Unfortunately, one of those shots was an accidental eye gouge that rendered Kongo unable to see and forced the doctor to stop the bout. It's possible Bellator tries to run this one back as a result, but this was also a fight that looked pretty lopsided early.
To defend title in San Jose
Light HeavyweightBellator
July 11, 2019
Bader will defend his Bellator Heavyweight Title against Cheick Kongo on Sept. 7, Greg Rosenstein of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
After announcing two months ago that he intends to remain in the heavyweight class to defend his title, he is getting the opportunity to do so in September at the Featherweight World Grand Prix. As expected, he'll be matched up with Kongo, who is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak under the promotion.
To continue in heavyweight division
Light HeavyweightBellator
May 9, 2019
Bader detailed via his personal Instagram account that he intends to remain at heavyweight and defend his title in August.
ANALYSIS
Bader currently holds the belt in both Bellator's 205-pound and heavyweight divisions, with the latter being earned with a win over Fedor Emelianenko in the Heavyweight Grand Prix Final. According to Ariel Helwani of ESPN, the promotion is targeting Cheick Kongo as his next opponent. Kongo is a former UFC heavyweight that is riding an eight-fight winning streak under the Bellator banner. While he was left out of the recent tournament, Kongo is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over former champion Vitaly Minakov in February. Bader would presumably enter as a betting favorite in that matchup, as would be the case against just about any heavyweight on the Bellator roster.