Gadzhi Rabadanov defeated Koji Takeda on New Year’s Eve in the Saitama Super Arena in a highly contested Bellator and Rizin’s cross-promotional event. However, former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov won the crowd’s hearts by consoling Koji Takeda after his loss.
A 𝗴𝘂𝘁𝘀𝘆 performance from Gadzhi Rabadanov.
With @TeamKhabib looking on, Rabadanov scores the unanimous decision over Koji Takeda to send Bellator to 1️⃣-0️⃣.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) January 1, 2023
Tokyo, the capital of Japan, hosted the most highly anticipated mixed martial arts event of the year. Gadzhi dominated his opponent from the opening of the bout and continued his utter dominance throughout the three rounds. Rabadanov, who has a record of 19-4-2, had not suffered a defeat in the last two years, and he entered the battle against Koji having won his all for previous matches.
View this post on Instagram
Takeda, meanwhile, struggled from the beginning and had little against the Russian over the course of the three rounds. Despite having won two and drawn one of his previous three fights, the 27-year-old Japanese fighter was defeated after three rounds. Koji desperately tried to make a comeback in the final round, but he was unable to do so since he was playing too defensively against the Russian.
— Bruno Massami (Бруно Массами) (@BrMassami) December 31, 2022
Khabib, the undisputed UFC champion, has been quite busy despite taking early retirement because he is now a mixed martial arts coach. Islam Makhachev and Usman Nurmagomedov, both of whom are closely acquainted with Khabib, are currently doing very well in their own promotions. The former lightweight champion attended the cross-promotional event between Bellator and Rizin to support fellow Russian Gadzhi Rabadanov.
The bout may have been won by Rabadanov, but Khabib won the hearts of the fans when, immediately after Koji was defeated, he stepped into the ring to console the Rizin fighter. Fans of mixed martial arts gave The Eagle a lot of praise for his generous gesture because, in the world of combat sports, a moment like this is not something that happens very often.
— Bruno Massami (Бруно Массами) (@BrMassami) January 1, 2023
Rabadanov triumphed, as did Khabib as a coach. Overall, it was a significant event for the promotion, as this victory established Bellator’s dominance in the MMA world.