Ryan Bader: PFL Vs. Bellator ‘Huge Deal’

Ryan Bader

Ryan Bader has competed for the biggest and best promotions in the world.

Now, the former NCAA wrestling standout and Ultimate Fighter winner will headline the first PFL vs. Bellator event.

Bader battles Renan Ferreira on February 24 from the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The card airs live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.

As the reigning Bellator heavyweight champion, Bader will square off with Ferreira, who won the 2023 PFL heavyweight title.

“It’s a huge deal,” Bader said. “This doesn’t happen in MMA. Fans want these types of super fights. A lot of organizations don’t want to risk putting their champions out there and have another organization come out and sweep them.

“I love that we are doing this in Saudi Arabia. The whole card, if you look at it, is stacked. I am ready to claim another belt too. I love it and I’m ready for this huge opportunity.”

The 40-year-old Bader, who also held the Bellator light heavyweight title for a period, is coming off three consecutive wins. That includes a finish last year of Fedor Emelianenko.

He first won the heavyweight belt in 2019 with a 35-second finish of Fedor two years after capturing the light heavyweight crown.

Overall, “Darth” is 31-7 in his career with wins over Cheick Kongo, Lyoto Machida, Phil davis and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

Ryan Bader-Renan Ferreira Headline PFL Vs. Bellator Champs

Several other bouts will feature champions taking on champions including Impa Kasanganay battling Johnny Eblen. Patricio Pitbull faces Jesus Pinedo, Bruno Cappelozza meets Vadim Nemkov and Clay Collard tangles with A.J. McKee in other key bouts.

On the prelims that night, which air live on ESPNews and stream on ESPN+, Aaron Pico meets Gabriel Alves Braga and Claressa Shields faces Kelsey DeSantis.

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