On June 17th, Fedor Emelianenko will be returning to MMA action. He will be taking on UFC veteran Fábio Maldonado at EFN 50: Emelianenko vs. Maldonado in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Although this will be Fedor’s second bout after a three-year absence from fighting, significant interest and excitement has been growing for a number of reasons surrounding the Russian heavyweight’s return.
Fedor Emelianenko Joining the UFC is Closer Than Ever
Fabio Maldonado represents a unique and exciting opponent for Fedor. Although Maldonado has only achieved a record of five wins and six losses within the UFC, he quickly became a fan favourite. Maldonado has shown a willingness to engage in all-out slugfests and fight in multiple weight classes. This includes taking a fight on short notice against incumbent UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic back in May of 2014
The Eurasia Fight Nights Angle
EFN (Eurasia Fight Nights) successfully reached an agreement with the UFC to have EFN 50 broadcast exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
This is a big step forward in the ongoing – albeit sporadic – relationship between Emelianenko and the UFC. UFC almost came to terms with Emelianenko when the UFC was trying to book Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor at Cowboys Stadium back in 2013. UFC was also rumored to be close to a deal with Emelianko last fall.
The MMA Hour
In a recent interview on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Emelianenko expressed a desire to test free agency following this fight.
“I am open for negotiations with all possible organizations” said Emelianenko on the June 13th episode.
For virtually every promotion, whether it be the UFC, Bellator, World Series of Fighting, or any other company, Fedor remains a huge draw in the sport. He would be a welcome addition to any heavyweight roster.
Ariel Helwani asked the Russian heavyweight if the MMA world could finally see Fedor Emelianenko fight under the UFC banner.
“In one word: Yes,” declared Emelianenko.
MMA fans have traversed this road before, as it seems to happen every few years. Therefore it might be best to manage expectations, as the two parties have failed to find common ground.
However, due to the current void in the heavyweight division and the broadcast partnership between the UFC, EFN, and Fedor Emelianenko; this seems closer than ever to being finalized.
With UFC 200 just around the corner, illustrious possibilities await. Should Brock Lesnar be victorious against Mark Hunt on July 9th, the stars may align a monumental blockbuster match-up between Brock Lesnar and Fedor Emelianenko. This dream match can finally come to fruition.
Lesnar vs. Emelianenko at Madison Square Garden, anyone?
Main Photo: EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – FEBRUARY 12: Fedor Emelianenko enters the arena for his bout with Antonio Silva at the Strikeforce Heavyweights Grand Prix event at the Izod Center on February 12, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Esther Lin/Forza LLC via Getty Images)