Bellator’s first-ever event in Japan on December 29 will feature a throwback heavyweight encounter between Fedor Emelianenko and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

The news was announced by the promotion in a press conference in Japan on Wednesday.

Emelianenko has not competed since his knockout defeat to Ryan Bader in the finals of Bellator‘s heavyweight grand prix earlier this year. However, his return to action will now see him return to Japan where he made his name in mixed martial arts.

“Nineteen years ago, I fought my first fight in Japan and ever since I have fallen in love with this country,” Emelianenko said (via MMA Fighting). “I’m very happy to return and fight in Japan in front of the most unique atmosphere that I’ve ever experienced.

I’m very happy to be able to do so with my opponent—a friend and a fight comrade who I fought side to side with in the same time. I’m very excited to be able to put on a great fight. I will work hard and do my best to put on a beautiful performance for all of the Japanese fans.”

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jackson — who last enjoyed a knockout win over Wanderlei Silva in September last year — has also had his fair share of competing in Japan and can’t wait to return there again:

“I don’t know if you guys know, but Fedor is and has been for a long time my favorite fighter,” Jackson said. “It’s strange to have to fight someone that you look up to and that you admire so much, but I love fighting in Japan so I just wanted to come back here and fight. I’ll fight anyone they tell me too if they tell me that I’m fighting in Japan.”

The event will take place in Saitama. According to Bellator president Scott Coker, he also plans on bringing three Bellator fighters to face three RIZIN fighters in challenger matches.

What do you think of the news? Are you excited for Bellator Japan?

Experienced freelance sports writer covering mixed martial arts (MMA) extensively for the last few years. Likes a good body shot.