April 24, 2024

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Fedor Emelianenko and Vitaly Minakov make up the top of the Bellator Moscow card

Fedor Emelianenko is fighting for the first time in five years in Russia, in what may be his farewell battle.

Despite signing a new contract with Bellator, Emelianenko claimed this week that his fight against Tim Johnson could be his final after a pro career spanning 21 years and 46 fights. Emelianenko, on the other hand, declared that he had yet to tyres of fighting.

“MMA is the most enjoyable job I’ve ever had,” he stated.

I’m never tired of press conferences, and I believe them to be a necessary part of the combat sports business, so I’ve grown accustomed to them. I believe that fighting alongside my friends and family will be challenging. When my friends and relatives are competing on the same card as me, it’s critical that I focus on my own fight and not get distracted by the others. “

Many fans expected Emelianenko to face a less difficult opponent than Tim Johnson (15-7). The American is coming off a failed attempt at the heavyweight interim championship last June and is currently ranked second behind interim champion Valentin Moldavsky in the heavyweight rankings.

If Emelianenko can get another championship shot, he appears to be vying for the perfect farewell bout. Emelianenko (39-6-1NC) was offered easy fights but preferred a ranked opponent, according to Bellator president Scott Coker.

Vitaly Minakov, the former heavyweight champion, makes his comeback after a two-year hiatus in the co-main event.

Minakov (22-1) has only lost once, to Cheick Kongo, and will face American Said Sowma, a former training partner (7-2).

Before visa issues and the Covid-19 outbreak caused him to sit out the last two years of action, the Russian was still fighting, just not for Bellator.

Khabib, a former UFC champion who finished his career with a perfect 29-0 record, now coaches his cousin Usman.

Usman has been given a main card place in a catchweight battle against Finland’s Patrik Pietila (11-8). In his first fight in Russia under the Bellator brand, Nurmagomedov will be surrounded by friends and family, and the 23-year-old admitted he was feeling the pressure.