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Widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight fighters of all time, Fedor Emelianenko, at 44 years of age, isn't ready to call it a career. Bellator announced on Friday that it would launch in Moscow on Oct. 23 with Fedor headlining the event.
Fedor (39-6, 1 NC) has fought in nearly all of the prominent mixed martial arts promotions outside of the UFC and ONE Championship. He long ruled the roost at Pride FC before the UFC purchased the Japanese fight promotion. Fedor also went on to fight for Strikeforce, which the UFC also purchased and folded into its operations.
Though he has teased retirement in the past, Fedor opted to fight for Bellator well into his forties. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting Bellator down for much of 2020, it appeared that Fedor might not return to fight out his "retirement tour."
But with Moscow on the horizon, he couldn't say no. Maybe the time off because of the pandemic even allowed him time to truly heal and get his body into a place where he might fight beyond Bellator's Moscow debut in October.
"In 2012, I had a couple of injuries that were not letting me perform as well and I thought I was done for good. But now I'm ready and I understand that my career is not going to be lasting for too much longer, so I wanted to make the best of it," Fedor said during Friday's announcement.
"I will always have time to end my career, but for now I want to stand as much as I can and have fun in the cage."
Bellator Moscow: Fedor's return details
Fedor's Oct. 23 opponent, as well as other match-ups and details of the Showtime telecast will be announced in the coming weeks.
“I have had the pleasure of working alongside Fedor for 12 years and nine of his fights during his time with Bellator and Strikeforce,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “It’s an honor to bring him home to compete in front of his fans who have followed his entire career. In addition to Fedor, we will showcase Bellator’s deep roster of Russian talent and put together a historic card for our first trip to Russia on Oct. 23.”
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