Russian heavyweight MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko appears to be set to make his Bellator debut in early 2017, and an opponent is already under consideration.
Former Ultimate Fighter alumni Matt “Meathead” Mitrione looks to be Emelianenko’s next foe and his first fight under the Bellator banner.
Mitrione has won twice now in back-to-back Bellator appearances, scoring knockout victories over Carl Seumanutafa and Oli Thompson since parting ways with the UFC in early 2016.
Meanwhile, “The Last Emperor” has fought twice since coming out of a three year retirement in 2015, TKOing the unheralded Jaideep Singh last year and winning a controversial decision victory over former UFC light heavyweight Fabio Maldonado in June.
Emelianenko and Bellator president Scott Coker already have an existing business relationship dating back to Coker’s Strikeforce.
Coker signed the famed Russian sambo specialist amidst much fanfare back in 2009 at a time when the UFC was aggressively courting Fedor. Emelianenko rebuffed the UFC’s offers and opted to sign with Strikeforce, where he went 1-3 in the promotion before the UFC bought and absorbed it in 2012.
With Coker at the helm of the Spike-based promotion following former Bellator CEO and founder Bjorn Rebney’s ousting, the blueprint for Fedor’s return to the North American mixed martial arts scene was set.
Emelianenko is currently riding a five-fight win streak since 2012, but is most well-known for his nearly decade long undefeated streak, where he went 31-1-1, with that lone loss coming by way of a doctors stoppage after a cut forced his fight with Tsuyoshi Kohsaka all the way back in 2000.
How do feel about Emelianenko vs. Mitrione as a matchup? Who do you see winning between the two heavyweights? Will Mitrione notch the biggest win of his career, or will Fedor return to North America with a victory? Sound off, PENN Nation!