On Friday, Bellator MMA’s plans for an eight-man heavyweight tournament to determine a new champion were revealed, and now it looks as though we know what one of the quarterfinal pairings will be.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir revealed on his podcast that he’ll be fighting none other than the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported that the fight is agreed to but contracts haven’t been signed, and that the bout is targeted for April 2018. That date is important to note because Mir’s two-year USADA suspension expires on April 7th.
Mir (18-11) saw his UFC career come to an end following a knockout loss to Mark Hunt in March 2016, and shortly thereafter it was revealed that he tested positive for the banned substance dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT). The 38-year-old was granted his UFC release earlier this year, and soon signed with Bellator MMA. Mir is just 2-6 in his last eight fights, with his wins coming by KO against Antonio Silva and Todd Duffee.
Fedor (36-5, 1 NC) is the consensus greatest heavyweight of all-time and an MMA icon. The 41-year-old Emelianenko is coming off a knockout loss to Matt Mitrione in a crazy 74-second fight at Bellator: NYC in June. After a simultaneous knockdown, Mitrione got up first and was able to pounce on “The Last Emperor” and knock him out cold. Fedor ended his three-year retirement by defeating Jaideep Singh in Rizin FF on New Year’s Eve 2015, before winning a highly controversial majority decision against Fabio Maldonado in Russia.