Fedor Emelianenko will make his long-awaited return to action this Saturday (Oct. 23, 2021) to face the No. 2-ranked Heavyweight on Bellator MMA’s roster, Timothy Johnson, in the main event of Bellator 269 in Moscow, Russia. It will be the first time “The Last Emperor” steps foot inside the cage since Dec. 2019, when he scored a knockout win over Quinton Jackson at Bellator 237.
With a lengthy layoff, it’s easy to forget “The Last Emperor” has actually racked up a nice record over his last 10 fights, going 8-2, including 3-2 under the Bellator umbrella. So after 20 years in the sport, Emelianenko has gone on record to say that his career will come to an end after two more fights.
Win, lose or draw in those final two fights, Emelianenko will walk away, and he gleams with pride knowing that he will be leaving the sport in the hands of the new generation, in particular two of his star pupils and champions, Valentin Moldavsky and Vadim Nemkov.
“This generation grew proper fighters, proper techniques and proper everything. And we are more than proud to leave Bellator in their (Nemkov and Moldavsky) hands and give all of the control to the proper people. But, I hope before I leave we can add another champion,” Emelianenko told MMA Mania during a recent media call.
Nemkov successfully defended his 205-pound title last weekend (Oct. 16, 2021), submitting Julius Angklickas in the fourth round at Bellator 268 (see it here) and, in the process, punching his ticket to the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix finals against Corey Anderson. As for Moldavsky, he won the interim Heavyweight title by defeating Timothy Johnson earlier this year. He will look to unify the titles when he faces Ryan Bader sometime in 2022.
Without looking too far passed this Saturday and the task in front of him, Emelianenko knows his final fight could take place stateside. And if he had his preference, he’d like it to go down in Chicago, Ill., which is known for having a strong Russian presence. As far as an opponent for his farewell fight, he isn’t looking that far ahead.
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