Mixed martial arts (MMA) great Fedor Emelianenko is in spectacular shape after setting the combat sports world ablaze by announcing his return to the sport he dominated for much of the 21st century last summer, and now after joining forces with former PRIDE FC boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara to put on a blockbuster Rizin Fighting Federation Grand-Prix event on New Year's Eve (Thurs., Dec. 31, 2015), "The Last Emperor" finally has an opponent secured.
And it's a familiar one.
Sources close to Inside MMA & @BasRuttenMMA say Fedor Emelianenko will fight Tsuyoshi Kohsaka in a rubber match New Year’s Eve in Japan.— Inside MMA (@InsideMMAaxstv) November 7, 2015
Inside MMA reports (via Bloody Elbow) that the Sambo standout will tangle with Tsuyoshi Kohsaka inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan at the end of 2015.
Kohsaka, 45, hasn't fought since he was ousted by Mark Hunt in May 2006 during the opening round of the PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix. The Japanese Judo player originally turned Emelianenko away via first-round doctor stoppage in a Dec. 2000 Rings tournament, before the latter avenged the controversial loss at PRIDE Bushido 6 in April 2005.
Meanwhile, the 39-year-old Emelianenko's swan song came against former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Pedro Rizzo at an M-1 Global event in June 2012, which catapulted his latest win streak to three-in-a-row.
While he works out the kinks ahead of his clash with Kohsaka, Emelianenko will reportedly head to the World Masters Tournament for Sambo on Nov. 25 in Monaco.
If you're going to come back to a sport where you terrorized opponents for a decade, you might as well get right down to business, though not everyone may be as they seem.