Fedor Emelianenko to make his Bellator return later this year (Report)

Fedor Emelianenko

One of the greatest fighters of all time will be returning to the Bellator cage later this year. Ariel Helwani was the first to report today that Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC) will be returning to action in October.

According to Helwani, there is a press conference tomorrow at 11 AM ET to announce the Bellator return of Fedor. At this time, there is no opponent set for the legend’s return, but the promotion is working on a fight for Fedor now.

We have not seen Fedor since Bellator 237. That night, he took on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the main event. Emelianenko was able to secure a first round TKO finish just halfway through the opening frame in his last performance.

Overall, that brought Emelianenko’s record to 3-2 inside the Bellator cage. Scott Coker has been hinting that Fedor’s next fight would be his retirement fight. The promotion wanted to do a big event in Russia with a full audience.

Of course, the pandemic has thrown everything off. Emelianenko has not fought since December of 2019 and he will be 45 years old by the time he makes his next Bellator walk in October.

Bellator’s Plans

There are several options for Bellator in terms of opponents. A couple of options off the top of my head would be guys like Cheick Kongo and Josh Barnett. However, there are a number of heavyweights that I’m sure would be willing to fight Fedor Emelianenko.

One thing we should all be thankful for is that Emelianenko is healthy and ready to fight again. Earlier this year, Emelianenko was hospitalized due to COVID-19. Some fighters have been hit with COVID worse than others and Emelianenko had a relatively severe case.

However, the Bellator heavyweight is healthy and ready to go for his October return. We should know more tomorrow at the press-conference, but my guess is that this will be his final fight of his career.

It’s been an incredible career for Fedor Emelianenko. At one time, he was considered to be the best in the world and the greatest heavyweight of all time. His success in Pride was unmatched, but he’s never really endured the same success in the US.

While fighting for Strikeforce and Bellator, the all time great has a record of just 4-5. Now, he did have five straight wins with other promotions, but he hasn’t seen a ton of success in the US. No matter who he fights, there will be a lot of fans watching whenever Fedor makes the walk again.

Bellator looking at signing Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos

Bellator is looking to potentially add two of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history. Scott Coker said today that the promotion was looking at potentially signing Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC) and Junior Dos Santos (21-9).

Both heavyweights were released by the UFC in early March. Releasing Dos Santos made sense for the UFC seeing as he’d lost four in a row, but many were caught off guard with their decision to release Overeem.

Nevertheless, both heavyweights have been on the open market for a month and Scott Coker is interested in both of them. Bellator‘s heavyweight division is really nothing to write home about.

Their heavyweight champion is a natural light heavyweight in Ryan Bader and there’s not a lot of star power there. The only real star in their heavyweight division is a 44 year old Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC).

Coker said that Bellator isn’t interested in long term deals, but he’s definitely interested in those two. He said, “We’re not going to sign these guys to, like, a two-year, six-fight deal or build them up. They’ve already proved themselves. They are legends of the sport already. But what I will say is we do have legends of the sport here. If we go down the road, and we think a Fedor opponent will work, Alistair and Fedor will be very interesting to me. Junior Dos Santos and Fedor will be very interesting to me.”

Will Bellator book one against Fedor?

Bellator has been looking at fights for Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor is looking for a final fight and the promotion wants to make it a big deal. They’ve even had preliminary discussions around having an event in Russia with a full crowd.

Fedor has faced many of the greats, but he hasn’t faced either Alistair Overeem nor Junior Dos Santos. Him and Overeem came close to fighting in Strikeforce, but the fight never materialized.

Now, Bellator can make it happen. Of course, there’s also the former UFC heavyweight champion in JDS. Both fights are interesting to Coker and I believe both would interest fans. Yes, none of them are in their primes anymore, but I think a lot of fans would still tune in.

Bellator announces move to Showtime and Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

Bellator MMA has been relatively quiet since the calendar moved over to 2021. However, they’ve been making big moves behind the scenes that would further the promotion’s vision in 2021.

Today, Bellator announced that they have agreed to a deal with Showtime and Showtime will now become the exclusive home for their events. Just last year, Bellator announced they had a deal with CBS Sports Network, but the Viacom promotion is shifting gears.

Showtime decided to get involved and both sides agreed that it would be best to move the promotion to Showtime. Bellator will also be moving their events back to Friday nights after a brief stint on Thursdays.

In addition to announcing the new deal with Showtime, Scott Coker announced some exciting news in terms of the light heavyweight division. By far, the light heavyweight division is the best that Bellator has to offer.

They made some huge signings in the last year and they are ready to capitalize. Coker announced today that Bellator would be starting a Light Heavyweight Grand Prix that will start on April 9th.

Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

The Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix will kick off on April 9th. In the first quarter final matchup, Corey Anderson (14-5) will be taking on Bellator newcomer, Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5-1).

Also on April 9th in the main event of the evening, Ryan Bader (27-6) will be taking on Lyoto Machida (26-10). Bader is the Bellator heavyweight champion and just lost his light heavyweight title last year to Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

Of course, the matchup everyone wanted to see takes place on April 16th. Yoel Romero (13-5) and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) will battle it out. However, despite the hype behind this matchup, it will not serve as the main event on April 16th.

Instead, that honor will belong to the Bellator Light Heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov. Nemkov will be competing in the tournament and defending his title against Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC). An absolutely stacked field and fight fans should be very excited about this Grand Prix.

Bellator: Fedor Emelianenko hospitalized due to COVID-19

Fedor Emelianenko

Current Bellator heavyweight and one of the greatest of all time, Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC), has been hit by COVID-19. According to the former Pride heavyweight champion, he’s been in the hospital dealing with COVID.

He posted on his official Instagram this morning with the news. However, the Bellator heavyweight did assure fans that he is going into recovery stating, “I am going into recovery. I’m grateful to the doctors and medical staff for their care and hard work.”

Not the most comforting thing to read that one of the best ever has been in the hospital with COVID. However, at least fight fans can breathe a little easier hearing that Fedor is heading for recovery.

Fedor hasn’t fought since December of 2019 and spent 2020 waiting on the sidelines during the pandemic. Bellator was hesitant to book Fedor for another fight because it’s known that his next fight might be his last.

Bellator’s Plans for Fedor

At this time, it’s not known how long it will take Fedor to recover from his battle with COVID-19. As mentioned, the news just came out today that he had to go to the hospital due to the symptoms.

Bellator has been exploring options for Fedor’s last fight. Scott Coker has said that he wanted to do a show in Russia with fans for Fedor’s sendoff. However, the pandemic has really handcuffed them on their options.

Reports had suggested that Fedor was ready to get back into the Bellator cage and compete. At 44 years old, Fedor knows that he doesn’t have much time left in his fighting career. Once we get a better idea of his recovery timeline, we should get a better feel for Bellator’s plans.

My guess is that this really doesn’t impact them much. We know that Bellator wants to do a show with fans in Russia and that’s not going to happen anytime soon. That said, it should give Emelianenko plenty of time to recover before his return bout is booked in what might be his retirement fight.

Bellator’s AJ McKee has his eyes on top UFC contenders with two fights left on his contract

AJ McKee

In my opinion, there’s no one on the Bellator roster that has superstar potential quite like AJ McKee (17-0). From his style inside the cage to his confidence when he speaks, McKee has all the makings of a superstar.

Bellator‘s Scott Coker has raved about their homegrown star. McKee has said that he wants to become the Floyd Mayweather of MMA. So far, he’s ran through everyone who has stood in his way.

McKee made his professional debut with Bellator back in 2015. The 25 year old has fought his entire career under the Bellator banner and the promotion has done a very good job of bringing him along slowly.

They never rushed him seeing the potential that he has. McKee is on the verge of finally reaching the Bellator mountain top as he’s currently in their featherweight Grand Prix finals awaiting the winner of Patricio Pitbull and Emmanuel Sanchez.

While it’s going to be a massive year for McKee inside the Bellator cage, there is a budding storyline outside the cage. McKee recently revealed to MMA Junkie that he only has two fights left on his contract.

That being said, McKee is already looking across the pond at contenders in the UFC. McKee told MMA Junkie, “I’m looking across at the UFC and I’d love to have a field day with some of these guys…I’ve said I’m the Floyd Mayweather of MMA. I’m looking to make that Floyd Mayweather money.”

Will Bellator lose their star in 2021?

The face of Bellator over the last decade was Michael Chandler. Chandler left the promotion in 2020 to sign with the UFC. McKee has arguably the most star potential of anyone that the promotion has ever had and he might walk as well.

If McKee goes 2-0 this year, Bellator is going to have to do everything they can to retain McKee. McKee did allude to the fact that there might be some clauses in his contract that make it difficult to leave should he be the champion, but he didn’t elaborate.

For the sake of argument, if McKee is free to explore free agency after going 2-0 this year, Bellator could be in a lot of trouble. In reality, there is the possibility that McKee could earn more right away with Bellator than the UFC.

Michael Chandler told Brendan Schaub that the UFC wasn’t his highest offer on a per fight basis. However, his desire to compete against the best is why he ultimately signed with the UFC over returning to Bellator.

There is certainly the possibility that Bellator offers more up front in guaranteed money than the UFC for McKee. However, there is no comparison when it comes to the earning potential between the two.

There is no chance that McKee could get to a Conor McGregor level in Bellator. However, he can definitely do that in the UFC. If McKee is free to walk after his contract is up this year, the house favorite would have to be the biggest show in town, the UFC.

Bellator wants to do something special for Fedor’s final fight

Fedor Emelianenko

The career of one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all-time is winding down and Bellator wants to do something special for him. Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC) is getting ready to call it a career after fighting for over 20 years.

The Russian heavyweight superstar has been in discussions with Bellator about what they could do to close out his career. By all accounts, Fedor wanted to fight in 2020, however, the promotion wanted to wait.

Scott Coker recently talked with MMA Junkie about Fedor’s final fight with Bellator. They don’t want him to just fight in front of the production staff in the bubble type environment that was created due to the pandemic.

Bellator is wanting to do something truly special for Fedor for his final fight. According to Coker, the promotion is envisioning a monumental sendoff in front of his home country with fans in the stands.

“I really want Fedor to finish his career in front of 30,000 people in Moscow, to be honest, Bellator MMA’s first fight in Russia. Do a fight in Moscow. Fedor is the greatest fighter of all-time. He’s now coming home to retire and put his gloves up and hang it up to retire,” Coker told MMA Junkie.

Who could Bellator pair him with?

If the COVID vaccine makes its way through Russia, there is a chance that Bellator could pull an event off with fans in 2021. However, I think having 30,000 fans might be a little bit of a stretch.

If Bellator is able to pull off a Russian event with fans, they have a couple of options for Fedor’s last fight. One option would be Josh Barnett (35-8). Barnett and Fedor were supposed to fight a number of times in their careers.

However, the fight never came together. At this stage in their careers, they aren’t going to be challenging for world titles. Barnett is a bigger name that Bellator could throw at Fedor for his final fight.

Another option would be top heavyweight contender, Cheick Kongo (30-11-2, 1 NC). Kongo is coming off of his first loss since 2015. He’s 45 years old and appears to be nearing the end of his career as well.

That could be another matchup that Bellator puts together. There is also the possibility that the promotion signs a one-off fighter to fight Fedor in his final fight in Russia. They have a few options to play with.

Either way, you can bet that Bellator is going to work on putting this together in 2021. Fedor has had an incredible career and it would be fitting to give him a proper sendoff in front of fans in Russia.

Jake Paul pulls a water balloon drive-by on Bellator’s Dillon Danis (Video)

Jake Paul certainly knows how to troll and he continued today. After he knocked out Nate Robinson a couple of week’s ago, Paul called out Bellator’s Dillon Danis and the UFC’s Conor McGregor.

Paul has been very vocal about calling out MMA fighters to box him. Just this morning, Nate Diaz issued a strong warning to Paul for his words. He’s starting to bark up the wrong trees with some of his comments.

Nevertheless, Paul is great about getting people to talk about him and here we are. Today, Paul decided to take the attack to Bellator‘s Danis. However, he did it in a very unique way.

Paul posted a video on his Twitter account of him driving by where Danis was doing either a signing or interviews. The Bellator fighter was caught off guard and was pelted with water balloons and toilet paper which prompted him to chase Paul’s vehicle.

Bellator is interested

Last week, Bellator‘s head man, Scott Coker, said that the promotion would be interested in potentially having Danis fight Jake Paul. Love or hate the Paul brothers, they certainly know how to draw attention.

We just found out recently that the elder Paul brother, Logan, would be boxing Floyd Mayweather. Jake Paul continues to be steady in his callouts of MMA fighters. He’s very focused on getting a matchup with Dillon Danis.

I really believe that Bellator is seriously going to consider putting this together somehow. With their standing in the world of MMA, they are constantly looking to get more eyeballs on their product.

They’ve done a great job of building up their light heavyweight roster recently, but honestly, having Danis box Jake Paul would bring even more casual attention. Yes, it would be a sideshow, but so many would tune in.

I’m expecting to see even more stuff like this from Jake Paul as he continues to look for a fight with guys in MMA circles. I would just caution the YouTube star on who exactly he messes with. He might just bark up the wrong tree.

What really happened with Michael “Venom” Page at Bellator 248

This past weekend, Bellator 248 made history as the first major MMA event in France after it’s legalization earlier this year. One of the headliners for the promotion was the dynamic Michael “Venom” Page (18-1).

Page was set to take on the previously unbeaten Ross Houston (8-1, 1 NC) in the main event of Bellator 248. MVP was coming off of three consecutive knockout finishes, and he was looking for another statement win this past Saturday.

Page has been trying to get a rematch with Bellator‘s welterweight champion Douglas Lima. Lima knocked out Page back at Bellator 221 which is still MVP’s only professional loss. Given the magnitude of the event and Page’s popularity, a lot of eyes were on Bellator 248.

While there was very high expectations, the main event completely failed to deliver. The MMA community was expecting a back and forth war with one man eventually going down. Instead, what they got was a grinding decision for Michael Page. A flop of a main event for the promotion.

After the fight was over, Page made the claim that the Bellator mat was extremely slippery. For that reason, he couldn’t execute his game plan. Meanwhile, Scott Coker came out and said that he believed MVP’s off night was due to the fact that he’s been inactive this year.

What really happened at Bellator 248

I don’t want to come across as a hater, but I find the slippery surface excuse to be a little far fetched. There were no complaints from other fighters when it came to the Bellator fighting surface on Saturday night. Everyone else seemed to perform just fine.

It also certainly didn’t look like Page was having trouble keeping his footing. However, just because he didn’t visibly slip a ton doesn’t mean he didn’t feel stable. He very well might have felt that the mat wasn’t sturdy enough for his flashy techniques.

However, I believe that Bellator President Scott Coker was more on point with his assessment. To me, Page just appeared to be a little off overall. It looked like his timing wasn’t completely there and he just didn’t seem comfortable inside the cage.

I think the fact that Houston was a very dangerous opponent didn’t help things. I think the fact that Page didn’t feel comfortable, he was facing a dangerous opponent, and the fact that it was his first fight of 2020 led to the lackluster Bellator 248 performance.

No matter how you slice it, the main event really failed the promotion in a big way. Bellator had the chance to make a big statement being the first to host an event in France, but the promotion failed to deliver an entertaining main event.

Corey Anderson to make Bellator debut against Melvin Manhoef

Corey Anderson

Bellator has announced it’s headliner for their fight night on November 5th. President Scott Coker told CBS Sports Network today that newly signed Corey Anderson (13-5) will be taking on Melvin Manhoef (32-14-1, 2 NC) in his promotional debut.

This will be the first Bellator fight for Manhoef in 2020. The 44 year old returned to the Bellator cage in 2019 where he went 2-0 against Kent Kauppinen and Yannick Bahati. Manhoef is known for his dangerous striking which was on display against Bahati.

Having fought all around the world, Manhoef is not going to be afraid of this moment. He’s got the striking and the power to put anyone out who stands in front of him. This is a very tough stylistic matchup for him, but don’t expect him to shy away.

Throughout his career, Manhoef has fought for all the big promotions outside the UFC. He’s fought in Bellator, ONE, Strikeforce, Dream, and K1 throughout his long career. He’s been in there against some big names from Robbie Lawler to Gegard Mousasi.

Bellator Debut for Anderson

Bellator made waves a while back when they announced that they had signed Corey Anderson. Anderson was the fourth ranked light heavyweight in the UFC, but he decided to ask for his release. Upon getting his release Bellator scooped him up right away.

Coming into 2020, Anderson looked to be primed for a title shot in the UFC. However, he was knocked out in the first round by the current UFC champion, Jan Blachowicz back in February. That completely derailed his plans.

Following a health scare, Anderson decided to ask the UFC for more money. When the UFC wasn’t willing to give him more, he asked for his release. Shortly after, he landed a lucrative contract with Bellator and he’s expected to be a force in their light heavyweight division.

While Anderson will have to be aware of Manhoef’s striking, this is a very winnable fight for Anderson. If he utilizes his wrestling skills to the best of his ability, he should be able to get a win while getting his feet wet in the Bellator cage.

Bellator makes a couple of big Russian signings (Reports)

Bellator is in the news today for a couple of big signings that were reported by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. One of the big signings for the promotion was signing UFC vet Rustam Khabilov (24-4) to a multiple fight deal.

Bellator has been really aggressive lately in trying to build their talent base. Khabilov is a veteran of the sport, but he should be a top contender in Bellator‘s lightweight division. Khabilov last fought for the UFC in November.

Prior to signing with Bellator, Khabilov had gone 7-1 in his last eight fights with the UFC. His lone loss coming at the hands of Diego Ferreira last February. The most notable victory on Khabilov’s record was a victory over Jorge Masvidal back in 2013.

While it’s not the sexiest signing in the world, it’s still a big one for Bellator‘s lightweight division. In my opinion the biggest signing announcement came when the UFC’s lightweight champion announced the promotion had signed his undefeated cousin Usman Nurmagomedov (11-0).

Massive signing for Bellator

Many people in the industry thought that the UFC would sign Usman Nurmagomedov. However, it was Scott Coker and Bellator that swooped in and signed the undefeated Russian prospect. There are many that are extremely high on this kid.

At just 23 years old, Nurmagomedov has already 11 fights which include 10 victories coming by stoppage. Nurmagomedov has very good Muay Thai skills to go along with good grappling skills. Some have said he’s going to be better than his older cousin.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is considered by many to be the best fighter in the world. For some people to say that Usman is going to be better than Khabib is extremely high praise. The top prospect is expected to make his Bellator debut in December or January. Expect the fast track treatment for the top Russian lightweight.