Former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko, one of the last remaining legends from the early aughts, is looking to close out his combat sports career by avenging his 2019 technical knockout loss to UFC veteran Ryan Bader.
The means to that end would be a Bellator “Moscow” headliner in summer 2022; however, any talk of battling “Darth” is contingent on the results of Bader’s upcoming fight against Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 273 on Jan. 29 in Phoenix.
That said, Bellator President Scott Coker prefers to make a decision that’s best for business.
“That’s what Fedor asked me,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “He’s like, ‘If Ryan beats Moldavsky, I want to fight Ryan Bader.’ I said, ‘Well, let’s talk about it and I’ll give you some other possibilities in the beginning of January, then let’s see how the fight unwinds and we’ll make a business decision, Fedor. How about that?’ And he said, ‘Okay.’ And that was it. We have one more fight with (Fedor) and we’re going to do something really big in Russia. He deserves a king’s sendoff with the career that he’s had, and we’re going to give it to him.”
Hopefully his retirement sticks the second time around.
Emelianenko (40-6, 1 NC) turned 45 back in September but looked like his old self with a knockout win over Tim Johnson at Bellator 269 the following month. It was the second straight victory for “The Last Emperor” after falling to Bader at Bellator 214.
Fight fans never got the chance to see Emelianenko compete inside the Octagon but the Stary Oskol native made a career out of demolishing former UFC heavyweight champions like Frank Mir, Andrei Arlovski, and Tim Sylvia, just to name a few.