The first Bellator heavyweight tournament booking is close to being finalized.
Former Pride FC heavyweight kingpin Fedor Emelianenko will take on former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in April, sources told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani. The fight is agreed, but contracts have yet to be signed. Denis Geyko first reported the news.
Mir (18-11) received a two-year USADA suspension after failing an in-competition drug test for dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT) following his loss to Mark Hunt back in March 2016. Mir will be eligible to return to action on April 7.
Mir, a former interim and undisputed UFC titleholder, is currently on a two-fight with defeats to Andrei Arlovski and Hunt. His last win was against Todd Duffee at UFC Fight Night 71 back in 2015.
Emelianenko (36-5, 1 no-contest) is looking for his first win in the United States since 2009, when he finished Brett Rogers in his Strikeforce debut.
“The Last Emperor” returned from retirement in 2015 to improve his winning streak to five, stopping Jaideep Singh and winning a controversial decision over Fabio Maldonado, but recently lost to Matt Mitrione in his Bellator debut.
The eight-man heavyweight tournament is expected to kick off in January, and also features Mitrione, Roy Nelson, Ryan Bader, Muhammed Lawal, Quinton Jackson and Chael Sonnen. Bellator has yet to announce the other three quarterfinals.