While Bellator MMA is doing work tonight (Sat., Nov. 19, 2016) from inside SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., the promotion will return on Feb. 18, 2017, for a huge heavyweight main event between the great Fedor Emelianenko and former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) standout Matt Mitrione, per an announcement made during Bellator 165's Spike TV broadcast. It will be the first fight on a multi-fight deal for "The Last Emperor."
FloCombat first reported the rumored bout last month.
"It's great to be back in business with Fedor," Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said. "The man is a legend both inside and outside of the cage and I'm elated to bring him back Stateside for the American MMA fans to witness him fight Matt Mitrione in San Jose. He and I go quite aways back, and I look forward to continuing to build our partnership here in Bellator MMA."
Emelianenko, 40, has experienced a rocky road since returning to professional mixed martial arts (MMA) in late 2015. The legendary Russian defeated tomato can Singh Jaideep in his comeback fight then escaped a battering at the hands of one-dimensional brawler Fabio Maldonado via decision this past June. It's no secret that Emelianenko needs a significant finish to reestablish himself as one of the best heavyweights in the world.
As for Mitrione, 38, fighting a legend like Emelianenko would do wonders for his career. Mitrione has compiled a 2-0 Bellator record since coming over from UFC, but "Meathead" needs big names to establish himself as one of the promotion's biggest tickets.