One of MMA's most sought-after free agents has found himself a home as Bellator MMA has come to terms on a multi-fight deal with Fedor Emelianenko (36-4), securing the talents of the man many consider to be the greatest heavyweight fighter of all-time.
The Scott Coker-led promotion is also pleased to announce that Emelianenko will compete on American Soil for the first since 2011, when he meets Matt Mitrione (11-5) in the main event of "Bellator 172: Fedor vs. Mitrione" on Saturday, February 18 at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. The event will air LIVE and FREE on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. Additional fights will be announced in coming weeks.
"The Last Emperor" is one of the most revered and respected heavyweight fighters the sport has ever seen. Stone-faced and quiet, Emelianenko boasted one of the most impressive unbeaten streaks in the history of the sport. A multi-time World Champion in MMA and Sambo, Fedor recently returned to the sport after a short hiatus, accumulating two wins since his return to action.
"It's great to be back in business with Fedor," Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said. "The man is a legend both inside and outside of the cage and I'm elated to bring him back Stateside for the American MMA fans to witness him fight Matt Mitrione in San Jose. He and I go quite aways back, and I look forward to continuing to build our partnership here in Bellator MMA."
A Pride, as well as World Allegiance of Mixed Martial Arts Heavyweight champion, the man once promoted by President-Elect Donald Trump was one half of some of the most memorable fights that the sport of MMA has ever seen, including wins against the likes of: Mirko Cro Cop, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (2x), Mark Coleman (2x), Kevin Randleman, Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, and Pedro Rizzo.
Emelianenko's success has not only been seen inside the world of MMA either, as he also served in the realm of politics, where he serves as a staff member of Russia's Council of Physical Fitness & Sports since 2012.
Matt Mitrione remains poised to make an immediate impact in the Bellator heavyweight division following two emphatic wins since signing with Bellator in 2016. The Illinois native and standout defensive end at Purdue University earned All-Big Ten honors in 2000 and subsequently earned his way into the NFL where he played six seasons as a member of the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings.
Still yearning to compete following the NFL, Mitrione found the sport of MMA after close friend and professional baseball player Jayson Werth requested Mitrione fight in his start-up promotion. After relocating to Indianapolis, Mitrione ultimately found his way into the UFC where he became a high-level competitor inside the promotion, defeating the likes of: the late Kimbo Slice, Derrick Lewis, and Gabriel Gonzaga.
"Bellator 172: Fedor vs. Mitrione"
Heavyweight Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko (36-4) vs. Matt Mitrione (11-5)
- Start: February 18, 2017
- End: February 18, 2017
- Where: SAP Center, 525 West Santa Clara Street, San Jose, California, United States, 95113
- Phone: N/A
- Event Type: Northern California
- Ticket Price: 250