The Bellator Middleweight Championship fight between Johnny Eblen (c) and Anatoly Tokov will serve as the co-main event of Bellator 290, which is taking place at Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA, on Saturday, February 4
The main event of Bellator 290, the Ryan Bader vs Fedor Emelianenko heavyweight title clash is the biggest fight of the night. However, we don’t think other bouts should be overlooked. This goes especially for the co-main event – Johnny Eblen vs Anatoly Tokov.
This is a fight for the Bellator Middleweight title, which is currently in Eblen’s possession. He’s defending the championship belt against Fedor’s protégé, who’s got a lot of fights under his belt, despite being only a year older than his American counterpart.
When, Where, and How to Watch?
Place: Kia Forum in Inglewood, California
Date: Saturday, February 4, 2023
Time: ~7:00 PM ET
How to Watch: CBS/Paramount+
Johnny Eblen Won’t Let Anyone Tarnish His Bellator MMA Record
Johnny Eblen a.k.a. The Human Cheat Code is undefeated in his professional career with 12 wins so far. Eight of those wins happened in Bellator MMA, including the one against Gegard Mousasi, which brought the Middleweight Championship his way.
Eblen defeated Mousasi by unanimous decision after 25 minutes of bullying his opponent. He completely dominated the fight from the very start, both on the feet and on the ground.
Even though the Dutch-Iranian fighter survived until the final bell, he got beaten up by Eblen, who also made plenty of takedowns that evening.
Eblen won the title deservedly with a confident performance last summer and is now ready to defend it for the first time. He destroyed a prominent kickboxer in his first title fight, but in his second, he’s taking on a more well-rounded fighter.
Anatoly Tokov is a Force to be Reckoned With
Eblen is favored by the bookies to triumph on Sunday, but if there’s a fighter who could mess up his plans, it’s Anatoly Tokov. The 32-year-old has fought almost three times as many fights as Eblen, meaning that he has experience on his side.
To be fair, though, Tokov hasn’t yet fought such an elite opponent as the reigning Bellator Middleweight champ. At least not in professional fights. In training, however, he did fight many legends. He’s a member of Fedor Emelianenko’s team, where he trains along with other prominent Russian fighters.
With Fedor as his protégé, it’s no surprise Tokov has risen through the ranks quickly. He’s 31-2 overall, with a 7-0 record since joining Bellator MMA. Seventeen of his wins happened by knockout/technical knockout, seven by submission, and seven by decision. This guy has plenty of weapons in is arsenal, with experience in sambo, pankration, wrestling, boxing, and other martial arts.
Johnny Eblen vs Anatoly Tokov Prediction
Both Eblen and Tokov are smart fighters who know how to fight for points. Rather than rushing to get an early finish, these guys are likely to opt for a marathon option. They’re going to exchange strikes and try to take down one another throughout all 25 minutes. And then, the judges will have the pleasure to decide the fight winner.