The final chapter of Fedor Emelianenko’s stellar mixed martial arts career continues on home soil this weekend at Bellator 269.
“The Last Emperor” takes on No. 2-ranked heavyweight contender Tim Johnson in the main event in Moscow, Russia as Emelianenko looks to pick up a big win that could potentially catapult him into a title fight in early 2022.
“Tim Johnson recently had a nice winning streak and that shows that he’s quite a good fighter,” Fedor told reporters during his virtual media session earlier this week.
“This was something that I took into consideration when looking at opponents.
“MMA is the most joyful job that I could have. I’m never tired of the press events, and actually consider them to be a necessity to the business of combat sports, so I have gotten used to them over the years.
“As far as fighting alongside my friends and family, I think this can be difficult. When my friends and family are fighting with me on the same card, it’s important that I concentrate on my own fight and not get caught up in the rest. Because I am a professional and have been performing in this sport for a while now, I believe that I am good at simplifying everything when it comes to all of these factors.
“In my next fight, I would prefer to go to Chicago instead of New York, but the plan for the next fight is really up to Bellator. If Bellator decides to go to a specific place, I will go. But, if it’s in America, it should be in Chicago.”
The chance to capture championship gold once again could offer Emelianenko a fairytale ending to a career that has spanned multiple eras of MMA. But victory over the teak-tough Johnson won’t be easy, with the American looking to earn another title shot of his own by claiming the scalp of one of heavyweight MMA’s all-time greats.
“I embrace fighting in Fedor’s home country. How many people get to experience something like that?” he told reporters during his virtual media session this week.
“I fought a Brazilian in Brazil (unanimous decision over Marcelo Golm in February 2018), but this will be a little more intense. I can’t go out there and think, ‘Hey, I’m fighting Fedor.’ This is just an opponent, and he is (standing) in front of my goals.
“Fedor is a power puncher. He’s got good explosions. I’m preparing this fight to be in all three positions. Fedor fights in front of you, looking to land that big right hand or that big uppercut. He is a well-rounded fighter. You can’t get lazy with him.
“Tim Johnson is pretty low on the name power list. People know me, but I don’t think the big-time fans look at me as a name power guy. If Fedor beats me, this definitely is not going to be his last fight. If he gets a win over me, he will get a chance to potentially fight for the (heavyweight) belt again.”
Ahead of their matchup on Saturday night, the fighters take to the scale at the official weigh-ins, and you can watch the action live as each fighter registers their official pre-fight weight.
Watch the weigh-in stream live via the video below. The event gets underway at 12 noon GMT / 7am ET / 4am PT.