It was announced during the Bellator Dynamite 1 show that Fedor Emelianenko will return to action on the New Year’s Eve card in Japan. Nobuyuki Sakakibara, the man who once headed PRIDE before the promotion sold to the UFC in 2007, is planning a comeback this year, and his first event will be on New Year’s Eve.
Sakakibara recently spoke about signing Emelianenko, his opponent, and future fights.
Everyone thought that Emelianenko would be signing with the UFC or go back and fight for his former boss in Scott Coker in Bellator MMA. However, Sakakibara picked him up.
“I am extremely pleased to be able to introduce a new platform for mixed martial arts in Japan,” Sakakibara told rsport.ru. “And it is a great honor for me that Fedor chose our organization for his return. I think we will be able to create a great show.”
Now with his return is confirmed, and a fight date confirmed, there is still is no opponent for Emelianenko is known. When pressed about the subject, Sakakibara that they are looking to select a fighter who will mean something for the future of mixed martial arts.
“The name of the opponent is not currently confirmed, but Fedor said he was willing to go against anyone. Now we have a lot of fighters from around the world who would like to challenge Fedor. But we would like to select a fighter who will mean something for the future of mixed martial arts.”
Ariel Helwani mentioned on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that Emelianenko has signed a two-fight deal. The first fight will be on December 31st, but the second fight is an option. That option is that Nobuyuki Sakakibara has the option to either pick up or decline Fedor for a second fight.
Following this fight, the next question would be what his future is with the newly launched promotion.
“Yes, we talked about it. Not only the future of Fedor, but also about the prospects of young Russian fighters who will be involved in our platform. Yes, some specific things about the future, we have already discussed.”
Emelianenko hasn’t fought since October 7th, 2011, which was when he announced his retirement following a first-round knockout of Pedro Rizzo. Emelianenko is 3-3 in his last six, but after a three-fight losing streak in his last three Strikeforce appearances, he ripped off three straight wins. In his last two bouts, he won by first-round knockout over less quality opponents.
At 38-years of age, Emelianenko is back for another stint in his legendary career.