All through a legendary profession that has spanned 21 years and 46 professional fights, Fedor Emelianenko can proudly say he is nonetheless doing what he loves.
The Russian slugger, extensively thought of the best heavyweight in MMA historical past, will make his penultimate stroll to the cage on Saturday in entrance of his adoring countrymen when Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC) headlines Bellator 269 inside VTB Enviornment in Moscow (Showtime, 3 p.m. ET).
The heavyweight tilt towards bruising American Timothy Johnson (15-7) represents the ultimate time Emelianenko will combat on Russian soil and the primary since his disputed 2016 win over Fabio Maldonado. However win or lose, “The Final Emperor” guarantees he will probably be again for yet another combat — ideally in Chicago — to shut out his unbelievable profession.
“MMA is probably the most joyful job that I may have,” the soft-spoken Emelianenko stated, by an interpreter, throughout Tuesday’s media teleconference. “I am by no means uninterested in the press occasions, and really take into account them to be a necessity to the enterprise of fight sports activities, so I’ve gotten used to them over time.
“So far as preventing alongside my family and friends, I believe this may be tough. When my family and friends are preventing with me on the identical card, it is essential that I focus by myself combat and never get caught up in the remaining. As a result of I’m knowledgeable and have been performing on this sport for some time now, I imagine that I’m good at simplifying the whole lot with regards to all of those components.”
Together with navigating the twilight of his preventing profession, Emelianenko has saved busy lately as a coach and mentor, serving to to information MMA’s future stars because the chief of Group Fedor. Current outcomes have been robust as Emelianenko has helped information the likes of sunshine heavyweight Vadim Nemkov and heavyweight Valentin Moldavsky to Bellator titles.
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Actually, it was the work Emelianenko did within the nook of Moldavsky in June when he captured Bellator’s interim heavyweight title in a hard-fought resolution over Johnson that possible sparked visions of who Emelianenko’s subsequent opponent can be.
Johnson, a 36-year-old native of Minnesota, entered the Moldavsky bout on a three-fight win streak in, undoubtedly, one of the best stretch of his 11-year professional profession. He additionally fought properly in defeat by pushing the tempo all through.
Emelianenko claimed this week he turned down a shot at returning in Moscow towards free agent and former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in favor of selecting Johnson, largely due to the American’s latest profitable streak. The consequence was not solely a shock to the MMA world at giant, it was a shock to Johnson — albeit a really nice one — as he considers Saturday to be the most important alternative of his profession.
“Tim Johnson is fairly low on the identify energy listing,” Johnson stated. “Folks know me, however I do not suppose the big-time followers take a look at me as a reputation energy man.”
No matter Johnson’s identify worth, his latest resume does converse for itself. He’ll enter with benefits of three inches in top and two inches in attain, which have helped make the gritty wrestler a slight betting favourite regardless of touring to his opponent’s yard.
“I embrace preventing in Fedor’s residence nation,” Johnson stated. “How many individuals get to expertise one thing like that? I am unable to go on the market and suppose, ‘Hey, I am preventing Fedor.’ That is simply an opponent, and he’s [standing] in entrance of my targets.
“Fedor is an influence puncher. He is acquired good explosions. I am getting ready this combat to be in all three positions. Fedor fights in entrance of you, trying to land that massive proper hand or that massive uppercut. He’s a well-rounded fighter. You’ll be able to’t get lazy with him.”
A few of Russia’s finest fighters will probably be again in motion on Saturday evening for the promotion’s first journey to the capital metropolis of Moscow. Former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov returns to tackle Stated Sowma within the co-main occasion. Minakov is available in off a TKO of Johnson in his most up-to-date outing. Plus, Usman Nurmagomedov, cousin of former UFC light-weight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, returns in one other showcase bout towards Patrik Pietila at 160 kilos. And middleweight Anatoly Tokov opens the principle card with a showdown towards Sharaf Davlatmurodov.
Let’s take a better take a look at the principle card and odds earlier than making a prediction on the principle occasion. Odds offered by Caesars Sportsbook.
Battle card, odds
- Tim Johnson (15-7) -170 vs. Fedor Emelianenko (39-6) +145, heavyweights
- Vitaly Minakov (22-1) -380 vs. Stated Sowma (7-2) +300, heavyweights
- Usman Nurmagomedov (13-0) -2500 vs. Patrik Pietila (11-8) +1200, 160-pound catchweights
- Anatoly Tokov (29-2) -700 vs. Sharaf Davlatmurodov (18-3-1) +500, middleweights
The loopy factor in regards to the twilight of Emelianenko’s nice profession is that it has gone on now for a full decade. Courting again to his one-sided TKO loss to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva beneath the Strikeforce banner, Emelianenko is 8-4 total with a number of pockets of reinvention.
The principle purpose why Emelianenko has been in a position to linger has been his misleading hand velocity and the infamous energy he wields in his massive proper paw. Emelianenko has gone the space simply twice within the final decade with nearly all of his fights being temporary shootouts by which he acquired to his opponent’s chin first (Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen) or they beat him to the punch (Matt Mitrione, Ryan Bader).
Emelianenko has something however an ideal gasoline tank at this level, which finally implies that Johnson, who went 5 exhausting rounds with Moldavsky, ought to have his means with Emelianenko if the combat goes previous the primary spherical.
Johnson, in truth, is a really competent wrestler and a bodily specimen, besides, which suggests he has quite a lot of methods to win the combat ought to totally different alternatives come up. However identical to everybody else who dares enter a duel with Emelianenko, he should survive the opening 90 seconds when Fedor is at his most harmful with that one-punch ending potential.
Choose: Johnson through TKO2
https://www.cbssports.com/mma/information/bellator-269-predictions-fedor-emelianenko-vs-timothy-johnson-fight-card-start-time-odds-preview/ | Bellator 269 predictions — Fedor Emelianenko vs. Timothy Johnson: Battle card, begin time, odds, preview