Nearly 10 years after Fedor Emelianenko defeated heavyweight grappler Jeff Monson at Olympic Stadium, “The Last Emperor” will make his return to Moscow, Russia, to fight No. 2-ranked Timothy Johnson atop the Bellator 269 event inside VTB Arena on Oct. 23.
Bellator officials announced the booking on Thursday.
Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC), now 44, has not competed since Dec. 2019, when he finished former UFC 205-pound champion Quinton Jackson. That marked Emelianenko’s fifth appearance (and third victory) under the Bellator MMA banner after signing with Scott Coker and Co. back in early 2016.
Johnson (15-7) is no stranger to Russian bruisers, having already gone to war with Vitaly Minakov and Valentin Moldavsky, among others. The 36 year-old wrestling standout is 3-3 for Bellator MMA after parting ways with UFC in summer 2018 and holds high-profile victories over Cheick Kongo and Matt Mitrione.
“In Russia, I know they’re doing what they need to do and my feeling is it will be a full-scale event,” Coker told MMA Junkie. “If Russia, they’re on lockdown and COVID starts ramping up to where we can’t do it there, then, of course, we’ll find an alternate location.”
Bellator 269 is expected to air on Showtime.