4 talking points from Bellator 226: Bader vs. Kongo
#2 Who’s next for Bader?
Ever since moving to Bellator from the UFC in 2017, Ryan Bader has been on an incredibly dominant run. Not only did he capture the promotion’s Light-Heavyweight title in his debut fight, but he’s also gone on to win their Heavyweight title too after crushing his opposition in the Heavyweight Grand Prix, a tournament that saw him defeat the great Fedor Emelianenko in the final match.
After last night though, the question has to be around who’s next for ‘Darth’. Bellator could book a Cheick Kongo rematch given the controversial ending to last night’s fight, but realistically it was clear that Bader was the better fighter, so would there be any point?
They could match him with Sergei Kharitonov, who knocked out Matt Mitrione a couple of weeks ago, but Kharitonov is past his best, meaning that fight wouldn’t be massively compelling either.
A post-fight fracas seemed to suggest Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson wants a piece of Bader – but that’d be a hard sell given Jackson has hardly looked great in his recent outings. Former Heavyweight champ Vitaly Minakov might represent the toughest test for Bader, but Scott Coker may want him to pick up another win before making that fight.
Essentially, Bader is probably in the form of his life right now – it’s just a pity Bellator’s roster probably isn’t quite deep enough to truly challenge him.