Former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion and longtime ruler of the combat sambo circuit, Fedor Emelianenko, will reportedly make his return to the grappling mats for the World Masters Tournament on Nov. 25 in Monaco, according to a report from Russian outlet Tass.ru (via Bloody Elbow).
Perhaps the “Last Emperor” needs a tune-up bout before his impending return to mixed martial arts (MMA), expected for Rizin Fighting Federation (RFF) on New Year’s Eve inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. His opponent is rumored to be Jaideep Singh; however, the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.
Emelianenko won 11 straight gold medals in combat sambo — including four in a row at the Worlds — before Bulgaria’s Blagoi Ivanov upended him in the semifinals of the 2008 championships in St. Petersburg, Russia. Then came a series of high profile losses in MMA, followed by a brief retirement.
Now one of the all-time greats is back … but is he better than ever?
We’ll find out soon enough.