PWInsiderXTRA - WWE News, Wrestling News, WWE



By Oliver Taylor on 10/23/2021 6:15 PM


Bellator officials expect Fedor Emelianenko to continue his mixed martial arts career, per Ariel Helwani.

Emelianenko made his return to the octagon at Bellator’s show today in the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia. He defeated Tim Johnson by knockout in the first round after landing a crunching left hook-right hook combination.

Shortly after the fight, Helwani posted on Twitter that the sentiment among every Bellator official he has talked to is that Emelianeko will definitely keep fighting. However, any potential dates or opponents are to be determined.

Prior to today’s fight, Johnson (who was second in Bellator’s heavyweight rankings) suggested that a victory for Emelianenko could launch him into contention to challenge Ryan Bader for the Bellator Heavyweight World Championship. Bader defeated Emelianenko to win the vacant Bellator Heavyweight World Championship at Bellator 214 in January 2019 and remains champion.

All Elite Wrestling crossover stars Jake Hager and Junior dos Santos as well as Game Changer Wrestling regular Josh Barnett are among the wrestling personalities who have expressed interest in fighting Emelianenko this year.

Helwani, who was only sharing his opinion and not reporting a shortlist, also suggested Alistair Overeem and dos Santos as potential opponents for Emelianenko.

Fellow MMA legend Daniel Cormier recently made headlines after claiming Emelianenko would have been “average at best” if he fought in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) between 2009 and 2011 on his Debate DC talkshow.

Emelianenko revealed he had two fights remaining on his Bellator deal during a press conference in June, meaning he could have the option to explore free agency after his next fight and a late career stint in UFC could be possible.

Cormier claimed Emelianenko would have defeated Brock Lesnar but would have struggled against up-and-coming heavyweight fighters such as Cain Velasquez, Cheick Kongo (though he later said listing Kongo as someone who could have defeated Emelianenko was a mistake) and dos Santos.

Lesnar had just won the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 91 in November 2008. UFC owner Dana White told last year that Emelianenko facing Lesnar was “the only fight that I wanted to make that was never made” and the company had plans to hold it in the 65,000-seat Texas Stadium. Whether White still holds the same interest in signing Emelianenko remains to be seen.