Heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko to make Bellator MMA return this October in Russia

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Fedor Emelianenko is not ready to hang up his gloves just yet. The legendary Russian heavyweight fighter announced on Friday that he was planning to return to the Bellator cage on Oct. 23 at the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia. An opponent for his return fight has not yet been announced.

Emelianenko, 44, last fought in December 2019, scoring a first-round TKO of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The win got Emelianenko back into the win column after suffering a knockout loss to Ryan Bader in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix. Prior to the loss to Bader, Emelianenko had knocked out Frank Mir and Chael Sonnen in the first two rounds of the tournament.

“The Last Emperor” built his legend in the Pride FC ring, going undefeated in the promotion while winning the heavyweight championship and scoring iconic wins over many heavyweight greats such as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Cro Cop, in addition to dominating lower level opposition in trademark Pride fights.

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“I have had the pleasure of working alongside Fedor for 12 years and nine of his fights during his time with Bellator and Strikeforce,” Bellator MMA president Scott Coker said. “It’s an honor to bring him home to compete in front of his fans who have followed his entire career. In addition to Fedor, we will showcase Bellator’s deep roster of Russian talent and put together a historic card for our first trip to Russia on Oct. 23.”

After Pride was acquired by then-UFC parent company ZUFFA, Emelianenko could not reach a deal to make his way to the Octagon, resulting in fights for Affliction before moving to Strikeforce where he only picked up one win before losing three straight fights by stoppage.

Emelianenko signed with Bellator in November 2016 and now holds a 3-2 record in the promotion.