Fedor Emelianenko to Fight on Bellator Card in Russia on Oct. 23; Opponent TBD

Blake SchusterContributor IJune 25, 2021

SAITAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 29:  Fedor Emelianenko celebrates the victory during the Bellator Japan - Fedor v Rampage at Saitama Super Arena on December 29, 2019 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Fedor Emelianenko is bringing Bellator back to Russia. 

The 44-year-old heavyweight has agreed to end his two-year hiatus from MMA on October 23 at VTB Arena in Moscow against a yet-to-be announced opponent, according to ESPN's Marc Raimondi.

It's Bellator's first-ever event in Russia and will mark Emelianenko's first bout in his home country since 2016. 

The MMA legend began his career going 31-1-1, including a stretch of 28 consecutive bouts without a loss and victories over the likes of Mark Coleman, Mirko Cro Cop and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. While UFC was still gaining an international foothold in MMA, Fedor was building a legacy that would span multiple promoters over two decades.

Emelianenko (39-6-1, 15 KOs) defeated Fabio Maldonado via majority decision at June 2016's Fight Nights Global 50 in St. Petersburg, Russia, It was his seventh professional bout in Russia and helped extend a five-fight win streak after suffering three consecutive losses in Strikeforce competition. 

Following a victory over Maldonado, Emelianenko joined Bellator, where he lost his 2017 debut to Matt Mitrione by first-round knockout. He'd go onto win his next two bouts before getting knocked out in the first round again by Ryan Bader in a battle for the vacant heavyweight title. 

Emelianenko hasn't been back in the cage since he earned a first-round technical knockout of Quinton Jackson at Bellator 237 in December 2019. 

It's unclear who Bellator may tap as Emelianenko's return opponent.