Get the details here on Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione in our Bloody Elbow primer.
The co-main event of Bellator NYC features the promotional debut of heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko (36-4, 1 NC), as he takes on heavy-handed veteran Matt Mitrione (11-5 MMA, 2-0 Bellator). Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva airs live from Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York tonight (Saturday, June 24). The main card airs live on PPV with a fight time of 10 PM ET/7 PM PT, and is preceded by Bellator 180: Davis vs. Bader, which airs on Spike at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT. A free preliminary card stream kicks off Bellator’s historic card at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT.
This fight was actually scheduled to happen as the main event of Bellator 172 in February, but Mitrione had an untimely kidney stone problem which resulted in his removal from the card on fight night. Instead of headlining on Spike from San Jose, these two are at MSG and featuring in Bellator’s biggest event to date.
How do these two stack up?
Fedor: 40 years old | 5’11″ | 74.5″ reach
Mitrione: 38 years old | 6’3″ | 79″ reach
What have these two done recently?
Fedor: W – Fabio Maldonado (MD) | W – Jaideep Singh (SUB. STRIKES) | W – Pedro Rizzo (KO)
Mitrione: W – Oli Thompson (TKO) | W – Carl Seumanutafa (KO) | L – Travis Browne (TKO)
How did these two get here?
“The Last Emperor” came out of retirement in 2015 and easily defeated Jaideep Singh in the inaugural Rizin Fighting Federation show on New Year’s Eve. Fedor then returned to his native Russia for an EFN Global main event last June, and while he was a clear favorite to beat the undersized Fabio Maldonado, the Brazilian nearly knocked Fedor out in the first round. Emelianenko earned an extremely controversial majority decision, and one could argue Maldonado should’ve had a TKO outright in round 1. It’s painfully obvious that Fedor is no longer the unstoppable force from Rings, PRIDE, and Affliction, but Mitrione provides us another litmus test to see if there’s still something left in the tank for a fighting icon.
Mitrione didn’t leave the UFC on great terms. His final fight inside the Octagon was a TKO loss to Travis Browne, who poked him in the eye multiple times without punishment. The former NFL player signed with Bellator MMA in free agency and made his debut with the promotion in June, but he had to rally from an early knockdown to brutally KO heavy underdog Carl Seumanutafa. Mitrione had a quick turnaround and finished Oli Thompson in July, setting the stage for by far the biggest fight of his career.
Why should you care?
It’s Fedor! He’s one of the greatest of all-time. It’s always a fascinating spectacle when he fights, although I don’t know how much longer that enjoyment will last. Either way, this is a bout that figures not to go the distance, so there will be entertainment provided.