This past Saturday in the main event of Bellator 269, Fedor Emelianenko (40-6) returned home to Russia to take on the tough Tim Johnson (15-8). Despite fighting in his homeland, many considered Fedor to be the underdog on Saturday night.
Johnson had a sensational 2020 that led him to an interim Bellator heavyweight title fight earlier this year. Meanwhile Fedor has struggled with Bellator heavyweights having gone just 3-2 leading up to Saturday night.
That said, there was still some mystique surrounding The Last Emperor as he walked to the cage on Saturday. The Russian crowd all on their feet with their eyes glued on their national hero who put Russian MMA on the map.
The fight started out with Fedor bouncing on his toes with his hands low. He looked good and was still looking to fight with the same style he had been fighting with his entire career. There were a few exchanges between him and Johnson where it looked like either man could’ve won by knockout had they landed.
Then, just a few minutes into the first at Bellator 269, Fedor turned back the clock. A beautiful left hook followed by a blistering right flattened Tim Johnson. No follow up shots were needed as Fedor picked up the KO win as the Russian crowd erupted.
What’s next after Bellator 269?
Scott Coker said last week that Saturday night was the first leg of a two-fight retirement tour for Fedor. Fedor is wrapping up his historic career with Bellator, but there is no word yet on who Fedor will fight in his next matchup.
Coker told the media on Saturday that Fedor will likely fight early next year or in the spring. That is when we will see Fedor compete for the final time in the Bellator cage. Fedor told the media afterwards that he needs to discuss his fighting future with his family.
To me, it’s going to be interesting to see who Bellator pairs him with. Honestly, Saturday night would’ve been the perfect fight to walk away on. A huge knockout win over a top contender in his home country. However, that doesn’t appear to be the plan and we should know sooner than later when we’ll see Fedor for the final time.