With little more than a month to go before his return to MMA takes place on December 31st at the Saitama Super Arena, Fedor Emelianenko is still without an official opponent.
According to sources close to Bas Rutten and Inside MMA, Fedor's opponent was supposed to be Tsuyoshi Kosaka, who he faced in Pride nearly a decade ago. However, Kosaka appeared at a Rizin FF press conference this week alongside Nobuyuki Sakakibara to announce a fight against James Thompson.
"I have decided to make my comeback at RIZIN after 10 years," Kosaka said at the press conference. "I have been thinking about how a ‘fighter' lives after he retires, and kept training and practicing every day. I just couldn't give up 'Fighting.' That was my answer and the main reason why I decided to come back.
"It's not a decision I made recently, I have had this idea since last October. At that timing I had a chance to meet with Mr. Sakakibara, and I felt that this was some kind of guidance. It is an honor for me to participate in RIZIN. I would like to show my way of a Fighter."
The promotion also announced a match-up between Russian prospect Anatoly Tokov and AJ Matthews before Sakakibara revealed the dates of each contest. The Dec. 29 show will consist of the five fights in the first round of the tournament. They will include the reserve fight, Kazushi Sakuraba vs Shinya Aoki, Yuki Motoya vs Nam Jin Jo, AJ Matthews vs Anatoly Tokov, and Tsuyoshi Kosaka vs James Thompson.
The promotion added that Fedor's opponent would be announced in the near future.