Fedor to Meet Tim Johnson in Bellator Moscow Main Event

Fedor Emelianenko, Bellator MMA
Fedor Emelianenko Credit: Bellator MMA

The next opponent for the legendary Fedor Emelianenko is set.

On Thursday, Bellator MMA officials announced via social media that “The Last Emperor” would be facing Tim Johnson this fall. The fight will serve as the main event of Bellator Moscow, a card that marks the promotion’s first trip to Russia.

For Emelianenko (39-6, 1NC), it will be his first fight since a 2019 win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at Bellator 237 in Japan. The 44-year old’s retirement tour has long been discussed by Bellator President Scott Coker, but plans were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, and further complicated when Fedor himself contracted COVID-19.

With the heavyweight great back in fighting shape, he’ll step back in the cage in October against the #2 ranked Johnson. Beyond that, the heavyweight told Cageside Press back in May that he wanted to fulfill the remaining two fights on his contract, which would give him one more — but hinted that a third fight could be possible.

“I have two fights, and I’d like to fulfill them and finish our contract. But if the third fight happens, it depends on how I feel,” Emelianenko said at the time.

Tim Johnson (15-7) will enter the fight with Fedor off a loss to one of the Russian star’s students, Valentin Moldavsky. That defeat, for the promotion’s interim heavyweight title, snapped a three-fight win streak for Johnson that saw him pick up victories over Tyrell Fortune, Matt Mitrione, and Cheick Kongo.

Bellator Moscow takes place October 23 at the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia. Former heavyweight champ Vitaly Minakov is also expected to compete on the card.