Bellator 290 Important Moment & Important Fights

Bellator 290 important event in the history of the promotion because first time airing on CBS (February 4th) , Fedor’s retirement fight as the headliner in Heavyweight Title fight against Ryan Bader. Co-Main Event Bellator Middleweight Title fight Johnny Eblen vs Anatoly Tokov.

February 4th event can become significant event for Bellator moving forward, new viewers flipping through television guide or Paramount Plus they will tune to Bellator and watch some great fights from first fight on the main card to main event.

Time for Bellator fighters to take advantage of the opportunity, End fight with finishes & fight best of your’e ability. Attracting whole new following to your Instagram and your promotion. Cheering for Bellator, record breaking viewership.

“It’s nice,” Eblen, rarely one to get too visibly hyped up, said of the network television opportunity. “It’s just a step in the right direction. I’m expecting this, expecting to take steps up when it comes to people I fight, exposure I’m getting, the talent level, and so on and so forth.” Johnny Eblen said

Eblen vs Tokov

What a Bellator Middleweight Title Fight we have in the co-main event. Two top of the food chain fighters from two respected camps. Johnny Eblen comes out of American Top Team, Part of the next generation of ATT fighters while Anatoly Tokov comes out of Alexander Nevsky(Fedor’s Gym).

Johnny Eblen first title defense after surprising upset against Gegard Mousasi. No close decision dominated Gegard Mousasi one of the best Middleweights ever with wrestling. Wowed a lot of fighters, journalist with his 50-45 scorecard performance. Eblen showed everyone he’s one of the best Middleweights in the world right there with Adesanya, Pereira, Whittaker, Cannonier.

Proving his world class talents against Anatoly Tokov, 31-2 fighter, #1 Contender, Master of Sport in Combat Sambo & Pankration. Eblen definitely will have his hands full must wrestle, wrestle to win this fight, showing his University of Missouri wrestling skills. Combat Sambo is a great background to have with sambo fighters dominating opponents with grappling but D-1 wrestler is different story.

“I’m just going to overwhelm him with everything. Striking, wrestling, grappling. My pressure, my pace. I’m going to surprise him with my speed. He doesn’t quite know what it’s like to be in there with me until he’s actually in there with me,” said Eblen on

Undefeated Bellator champion training with killers on daily basis like undefeated Bellator Welterweight Champion Yaroslav Amosov, Sean Strickland, Jorge Masvidal all help Eblen give different looks on ways to fight Tokov. Understanding how to fight a Sambo fighter use Amosov, Strickland with the heavy punches, Masvidal with the cardio and crisp boxing.

Anatoly Tokov finally earning title shot opportunity after being with Bellator since 2017. Short end of stick but time has come at Bellator 290. Time for the Russian Middleweight to put on a show, throw some bombs and finish the champion.

7 fight winning streak on the line against Eblen but Tokov fears no challenge. Ready for this opportunity and to become next Russian born champion. Making his mentor Fedor Emelianenko proud.

Biggest wins against Alexander Shlemenko, former UFC fighter Gerald Harris, Albert Duraev. Using his sambo, brute strength to finish opponents. Tokov advantage in experience, raw strength, one punch KO power but no question toughest fight to date.

However training with Vadim Nemkov, Valentin Moldavsky, Nikita Mikhailov can have Tokov ready for war.

Eblen vs Tokov two of the best Middleweights in the world facing each other. Eblen first title defense, aiming to become greatest Bellator Middleweight ever while Anatoly Tokov looks to become next champion out of Fedor’s camp.

Steve Mowry vs Ali Isaev

Down on the prelims is Steve Mowry vs Ali Isaev. two top Heavyweight facing each other. Mowry #5th ranked while Ali Isaev PFL 2019 Heavyweight Champion making his Bellator debut. Heavyweight clash is very interesting close fight with both fighters are highly capable of winning and in near feature challenging for Heavyweight title.

“February 4, 2023, you are going to see the nastiest, meanest, most violent, most complete Steve Mowry that’s ever been in the cage.” Steve Mowry

Steve Mowry comes out of Kill Cliff FC down in Florida, Head Coach is Henri Hooft & striking coach is Tyrone Spong while training with heavyweight partners Linton Vassell, Aung La Nsang, Juan Espino, Chase Sherman. Kill Cliff FC breeds champions and Steve Mowry can be next one up.

Mowry undefeated at 10-0 continues to improve with every fight focuses more on grappling submissions while striking all about volume. Standing at six foot eight tall, Lean Heavyweight compared to “heavier” heavyweights. Moves solid but not fast enough, however gets away with it for fighting inside the pocket with clinch fighting, power jabs.

Must fight smart, grappling defense must be superb, needs to beat Isaev with boxing to win this fight against Ali Isaev.

“He comes from a really high wrestling pedigree. Obviously, he’s a gamer, he shows up. He’s beaten a lot of guys that not only had the experience advantage on him but also, and I would hate to say it, but probably the skill advantage. They were more well-rounded in their game, but he shows up and gets it done.” Steve Mowry said on

Ali Isaev after four-year layoff decided to return to MMA, Sign with Bellator. Exciting Bellator signing because of his accomplishments inside the ring and wrestling mat. Winning PFL Heavyweight title, Olympic wrestler in 2008 Summer Olympics, 2009 European Wrestling gold medalist representing Azerbaijan.

Right off the bat Isaev matched with #5 Heavyweight, Shows Scott Coker belief in the former Heavyweight Champion to 2023 or 2024 to becoming Heavyweight title contender. European Gold Medalist has the same goal in mine, one of the reasons why he signed with Bellator.

“I’m very excited I want to definitely prove myself and giving the opportunity plays out, I would like to stay with the league and show myself. If they give top five definitely great opportunity for me and them (Bellator) consider me. ” Ali Isaev

“I still believe I have something left for me, If God allows, I will go for a title here.” Ali Isaev

Isaev freestyle wrestling will come to play, wrestler strength and pressure will come into this play while Steve Mowry can beat him with boxing and clinch strikes. Significant factor in this fight… Mowry able to submit Ali Isaev on the ground or not let Isaev to control him on the ground.

Chris Gonzalez vs Max Rohskopf

Below Isaev vs Mowry is lightweight clash between Bellator veteran Chris Gonzalez and Bellator debut fighter Max Rohskopf. Interesting fight to watch because of the story behind Max. Everyone loves underdog story.

Story behind Max Rohshopf is he was ranked top ten prospect to watch, Nolan King listed him top prospect to watch. Everyone was anticipating his UFC debut. Retired in the second round. Telling his coach, he didn’t have it.

“I needed to do that because if for whatever reason I go out there and it goes to a decision or I get caught or whatever, I don’t think I would have looked at things the same way as I do now. I’m grateful for how everything has played out so far.” Max Rohskopf

Max deleted his Instagram because of dark comments, loser direct messages. Isolated himself from the world close to a year. In dark time

“I was completely done,” he revealed. “I didn’t train for like eight months at all. I wouldn’t even go to the gym at all. I was working, I started coaching, I was doing a lot of different stuff. I was completely done. Max Rohskopf said on

Dealt with time away from the cage and returned to the Cage Warriors ring with two Cage Warriors win before excitingly signing with Bellator. First fight is tough opponent Chris Gonzalez. Really hope Max shows what he’s made of.

Considered top prospect for reason because of accomplishments outside the cage, Accomplished North Carolina State wrestler. 2016 ACC Champion at 165 pounds, NCAA Qualifier in 2015 & 2016. Fast learner in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competing in submission grappling tournaments rolling against guys like Thiago Moises, Danaher Death Squad Ethan Crelinsten. Holds a purple belt under Robert Drysdale(Head Coach Zenith MMA), Drysdale speaks highly of Max talents just didn’t show in his UFC fight.

Max Rohshopf currently trains at Xtreme Couture, Coached by Eric Nicksick and training with limitless amount of training partners. Hope Max put his head to grindstone for months in Las Vegas. Says he wasn’t his best in Cage Warriors fights love to see what Max looks like at 100% against Team Alpha Male fighter Chris Gonzalez.

Team Alpha product is the betting favorite in this fight for a reason, 2016 USA Greco-Roman wrestler. From wrestling to mix martial arts found success at Urijah Faber’s Sacramento gym. Wrestling skills were there but needed to improve his striking. KO’d Roger Huerta and Saad Awad.

Olympic wrestler and NCAA wrestler are two different stories. Levels to everything. Chris Gonzalez can show the wrestling pedigree, Better striking but needs to watch out for the jiu-jitsu skills. However if Chris looks the way he did against Saad Awad Max is in trouble on the feet.

Tough matchup against Usman Nurmagomedov but can bounce back in the win column against Max Rohskopf. Chris Gonzalez can become Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix replacement fighter if needed.

Max Rohskopf vs Chris Gonzalez is a great fight to watch, Really curious how this fight plays out. Interesting grappling match from the wrestling to jiu-jitsu.

Jornel Lugo vs Jaylon Bates

Bellator 290 is a crazy stacked card when you have Jornel Lugo vs Jaylon Bates as the third fight on the card. No complaining looking forward to watching the beginning stages of the Bellator prelims on YouTube.

Jornel Lugo had tough go-around against Danny Sabatello in his last fight. Nothing to be ashamed of wrestled against former Purdue wrestler. Lugo made him fight for every takedown lasting three rounds with the former Bantamweight title challenger.

“I learned a lot from it, It was necessary it sucks how I had to learn the lesson, but I learned big lesson, so it was necessary, It’s not a bad state it’s bittersweet actually.” Jornel Lugo

8-1 record only 27 years old really continues to improve with every fight, showing his striking, Take advantage of his athleticism, quickness and long reach. Similar to Neil Magny is a balanced all-around Bantamweight.

Showed his top ten potential with wins against Brian Moore & Keith Lee. Now will put blemish on hot prospect Jaylon Bates record.

” I watched all of his fights, I think he’s a good fighter… Gonna be a war man gonna be cats and dogs in that thing you know a little smoke cloud in the cartoons when they’re fighting. ” Jornel Lugo

Lugo was on several month layoff, not fighting inside Bellator cage. Talks about the improvements he made in that timespan. Watching the Dagestan wrestlers fights, Aware on how calm and composed they are inside the cage. Curious to see the changes Lugo he made, Fighting strategy facing the hot prospect Jaylon Bates

“I want to come out here and definitely want to stop.” Jornel Lugo Bellator 290 media day

Jaylon Bates currently undefeated with 6-0 record, fighting style is submission grappling. Grabbing opponent’s waist and dragging him to the ground, Latches onto opponents back like a backpack similar to Aljamain Sterling.

Flew down to Team Bodyshop MMA during his Bellator 268, Before trained at Team Alpha Male but moving to Southern California for his training camps was his best decision. Now training with his protege AJ Mckee, Joey Davis and coached by Antonio McKee.

“Coming to Body Shop it was a lot it was life changing because not only did it get my skills better but my mindset is better, my spirit is a lot better, it’s really a family.” Jaylon Bates media day

“Learned a lot, picked up a lot, and I’m still growing,” Bates said. “We’re not even close to being done yet, so I’m excited.” Jaylon Bates

Last fight against Mark Coates dealt with adversity, Unable to submit, Coates was able to wrestle, scramble and hit Bates. First time Jaylon Bates looked human against lesser opponent. Fighting Jornel Lugo definitely step up in competition, but Bates must be confident in his submission grappling to get the job done. Finish him while Danny Sabatello didn’t.

“I’m coming to finish him, When I finish him that’ll be the blueprint understood.” Jaylon Bates media day

Submission artist, Bellator hottest prospect looks to continue the undefeated record, Beating formidable opponent. Finishing Lugo! Showing there’s levels to grappling.

“I’m gonna go out there, I’m gonna show the world just how great I am. I think that’ll really put it in people’s minds, ‘Well, sh*t, this is what happens when Jaylon trains; we’re gonna have to figure out some things.’ Bates said on

Husband, Future Father, fighting in front of fifty plus family members are three ultimate motivators to finish Jornel Lugo. Put on a blueprint against Jornel.

Jornel Lugo vs Jaylon Bates WILL be a great technical grappling, striking chess match between two Bantamweight prospects hungry to become top ten Bantamweight fights. Really wanted to give this fight some love, Save the best for last!!

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