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PFL vs. Bellator results: Ferreira starches Bader 21 seconds into main event

Cooper Neill / Getty Images Sport / Getty

PFL heavyweight champion Renan Ferreira wasted no time beating Bellator heavyweight champ Ryan Bader and setting up a fight against Francis Ngannou.

Ferreira finished Bader via TKO at the 0:21 mark of the first round in the PFL vs. Bellator: Champs main event Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Ferreira dropped Bader with a right hand, jumped on top, and finished him with ground-and-pound.

Bellator dominated the head-to-head series against the PFL at Saturday's event, going 5-1 on the main card.

The stakes for the main event between Ferreira and Bader got a lot bigger earlier this week when the PFL announced that former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou would make his PFL debut against the winner.

Ferreira used his postfight interview to call out Ngannou, who sat cageside at the event. However, Ngannou and Ferreira didn't do a faceoff in the cage afterward.

"I'm the real problem out here," Ferreira said. "I'm the record-breaker, I'm the record-setter. Francis, where you at? I'm waiting for you. Let's go. Let's do this. I'm the champion out here."

Ngannou is scheduled to meet former world champion Anthony Joshua in a boxing match on March 8 but said earlier this week he still intends to compete in MMA again. The PFL hopes to schedule Ngannou's debut for 2024, but the timing will depend on the outcome of his fight with Joshua, sources told MMA reporter Ariel Helwani.

Ngannou signed with the PFL last year after leaving the UFC as a free agent and the reigning heavyweight champion.

Ferreira has now won four fights in a row, all inside the distance. The 34-year-old Brazilian beat Matheus Scheffel and Maurice Greene to reach the 2023 PFL heavyweight final and then claimed the $1-million championship in November with a second-round TKO of Denis Goltsov.

Bader's three-fight winning streak came to an end against Ferreira. Bader, who remains the Bellator heavyweight champion, hadn't stepped into the cage since a stoppage win over MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko last February.

In Saturday's co-main event, Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen defeated PFL light heavyweight champ Impa Kasanganay via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

Eblen remained undefeated with the narrow victory, lifting his pro record to 15-0.

Kasanganay came close to pulling off the upset in the second round. He dropped Eblen and hurt him with several hard punches on the feet. But Eblen survived and controlled the second half of the round with his grappling.

Eblen comfortably bested Kasanganay in the third round to seal the victory.

Bellator welterweight champion Jason Jackson dominated former PFL titleholder Ray Cooper III en route to a second-round TKO win in a 182-pound catchweight bout.

Cooper stepped in on short notice after Jackson's original opponent, reigning PFL welterweight champ Magomed Magomedkerimov, withdrew from the fight.

Former Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov impressed in his heavyweight debut, putting former PFL champ Bruno Cappelozza to sleep with an arm-triangle choke in the second round.

Nemkov vacated his 205-pound title in January to pursue a move up to heavyweight.

Yoel Romero defeated Thiago Santos in a battle of former UFC title contenders, earning a grueling split-decision victory.

Former Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee opened the main card with a bang, tapping out 2023 PFL lightweight finalist Clay Collard in 70 seconds.

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