Bellator 273 results: Ryan Bader retains the heavyweight belt in the match against Valentin Moldavsky
Ryan Bader had his first Bellator heavyweight title defense since 2019 when he fought at Bellator 273 on Saturday night. Against the interim champion of the game Valentin Moldavsky, Bader was able to retain and unify the belts.
Inside the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Bader beat hot Valentin Moldavsky by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47). Bader had to fight back several times against the might of Moldavsky in a close match from start to finish.
“Obviously, it was a really close fight, and in the end there, I was like, man, it was a showdown,” Bader said after the fight. “I feel like I did more damage, but it feels great to treat the last match as the one I lost. But it was a back-and-forth fight, even fighting for five rounds. Just go out there and have a fun heavyweight championship in round 5 with a tough guy in Arizona. I wanted it so badly. “
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Bader made an immediate impact in the first round as he hit a big boxer. Moldavsky recovered with a knockdown, but Bader took a right and a knock of his own. Looks like Bader feels comfortable again at heavyweight after a long stint at light heavyweight.
In the 2nd half, Bader lowered his knee to his groin, which halted the action. He then lowers his right arm and continues to pick his battles as it has his power. Moldavsky has found a way to recover and put down another big knockdown. He landed one more ball and had Bader on the floor, lunging at him until the end of the round. The key to his attack is having Bader next to the cage. Bader realized he was going to have a busy night later.
In the third part, Moldavsky has Bader by the cage again. He tore him apart in the air and knocked him down shortly after. Holding on to Bader, Moldavsky tried several other takedowns. Bader landed with his big elbow to block him. Moldavsky continued to keep Bader, which gave him a slight positional advantage. It was foreign territory for Bader.
Bader, realizing he needed to do something big, tried to apply pressure. He landed a powerful blow to Moldavsky’s face and avoided the big blows. Bader kept Moldavsky down by holding his neck, but Moldavsky found momentum and pushed him into the cage. Flipping over, Bader released Moldavsky and began to dash away as he lay on his back. Moldavsky held on to the fence, which referee Mike Beltran did not. Backing up, Bader took it down again and finished at the top.
A round of 5 will most likely determine who will be the champion, and both men, realizing that, gave their all. They started rocking each other. Moldavsky landed a left hook while Bader fired a few shots on goal himself. Clinging together, they remained in the middle of the cage in a deadlock. Bader landed on his left and knees to him, and Moldavsky responded with a one-two combo to the face.
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Shots were exchanged, and Bader avoided damage from a single kill by standing up immediately. Moldavsky continues to press, but Bader will not give up. He elbowed Moldavsky hard on the head next to the cage and fired shots to the body. With just 10 seconds left, Moldavsky took out a huge knockdown. It is not enough to guarantee victory.
Bader landed 66 shots compared to Moldavsky’s 78. The second landed nine kills compared to Bader’s three.
After the match, Bader will defend the heavyweight belt on May 6 in Paris with Cheick Kongo already announced. It will be a rematch of their fight at Bellator 226, a showdown that goes unchallenged after an accidental eye poke from Bader.
“Bringing Bellator to France in 2020 has been one of the highlights of my career and I know it’s the beginning of a long string of major events in Paris,” said Bellator president Scott Coker. “Here we are getting ready for our second trip to France, and this time we bring a rematch of the world heavyweight championship featuring the most famous French mixed martial artist in history. Our sport. Personally, it’s important to help develop the sport in France and give these athletes the opportunity to perform on a big stage.”
Bader is currently 2-2 in his last four fights. The loss ended Moldavsky’s six-match winless streak.