Bellator Moscow fight card: Fedor Emelianenko set to face Tim Johnson in main event from Russia

Heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko lastly has an opponent for his beforehand introduced return to struggle on residence soil in Russia.  

The 44-year-old Emelianenko will face veteran American slugger Tim Johnson on Oct. 23 in the principle occasion of a Bellator MMA card from VTB Enviornment in Moscow, the promotion confirmed on Thursday. The occasion, titled Bellator Moscow: Fedor vs. Johnson, will air reside in the USA on Showtime though the beginning time has but to be decided.  

Johnson (15-7) challenged unsuccessfully in June for the Bellator interim heavyweight championship when he dropped a aggressive five-round determination to Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 261. Emelianenko was within the nook of Moldavsky on the struggle as head coach for Crew Fedor.  

A local of Minnesota who fights out of Las Vegas, the 36-year-old Johnson mentioned he started campaigning for the bout whereas getting stitched up within the locker room following the loss to Moldavsky and in the end accepted a proposal, calling it the most important struggle of his profession.

“The identify energy does not matter the place you’re at — everybody is aware of Fedor,” Johnson informed CBS Sports activities. “Even probably the most crude struggle fan who began watching the game weeks in the past is aware of who Fedor is. 

“He’s the G.O.A.T. He has nonetheless received knockout energy and that does not go away. Father Time catches as much as all of us however the one factor that may delay Father Time is your knockout energy. Fedor might be the very best to do it.” 

Emelianenko (36-6, 1 NC) is 3-2 below the Bellator banner since making his debut in 2018. The previous PRIDE heavyweight champion who went undefeated preventing for a number of promotions between 2001 and 2010, final fought in December 2019 at Bellator 237 in Japan when he scored a first-round TKO of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. 

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Extensively considered the best heavyweight within the sport’s historical past, Emelianenko returns to struggle in Russia for the primary time since a controversial determination win in opposition to Fabio Maldonado in 2018 at Combat Nights International 50. Emelianenko final competed in Moscow when he snapped a three-fight dropping skid — all below the Strikeforce banner — by successful a choice in opposition to Jeff Monson in M-1 International.  

Emelianenko, who has a further struggle remaining on his Bellator deal after the Johnson struggle, hasn’t hinted both means as as to if this may very well be his profession finale. Johnson, nevertheless, would haven’t any downside retiring a legend regardless that he admits it is from his objective coming into the bout. 

“[I’m] not making an attempt to place a reputation on myself, I simply wish to go on the market and get the struggle over as quickly as attainable,” Johnson mentioned. “My final struggle went 25 minutes and I hate 15-minute fights, not to mention 25. The longer the struggle goes, the extra the possibility that one thing might occur.” 

Regardless of his loss to Moldavsky, which snapped a three-fight win streak through which the completed wrestler underwent a resurgence as a knockout menace, Johnson was “extremely glad” together with his efficiency as a result of he was the one bringing the struggle to his opponent all through. 

“Moldavsky is a stick-and-move type of man and actually does not push the tempo an excessive amount of. I feel quite a lot of followers who knew him and knew the outdated me most likely thought it was going to be a snorefest,” Johnson mentioned. “I am glad I made him struggle and made him come out of his consolation zone just a little bit. That is the type of fighter I feel I’ve developed into. I am not the sort who sits again and tries to grind out a win anymore. That a part of my profession is type of over.” 

Regardless of a public problem from former UFC champion Josh Barnett and numerous hypothesis involving attainable rematches in opposition to Matt Mitrione and Fabricio Werdum, Emelianenko in the end selected Johnson for his homecoming. Requested whether or not his efficiency in opposition to Moldavsky served as a de facto tryout for a struggle in opposition to Emelianenko because the Russian nice watched from cageside, Johnson mentioned he was not sure in regards to the motivation. 

“Perhaps it is just a little little bit of each,” Johnson mentioned. “Perhaps he thinks there may be quite a lot of issues he can reap the benefits of by watching me struggle. Perhaps there are quite a lot of holes that he thinks he noticed or possibly I did sufficient to impress him that possibly he thinks I deserved a struggle with him.” 

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