Bellator Signs Fedor Emelianenko

Ahead of Page vs. Gonzalez at Bellator 165, the promotion announced that Matt “Meathead” Mitrione had his next opponent: “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko.

The legend developed a working relationship with Bellator around 2015. He returned to fighting after a three-year retirement in a one-sided showing for Rizin Fighting Federation, of which Bellator is affiliated. Mitrione, a former cast member of The Ultimate Fighter‘s 10th season who is undefeated (2-0, 2 KO/TKOs) will be Emelianenko’s first fight in the U.S. since 2011 and in his most major promotion since Strikeforce after the Russian’s management went back and forth with the UFC for years.

He last scored a controversial decision win over ex-UFC fighter Fabio Maldanado. They will face off on February 18, 2017. Emelianenko’s contract is a multi-fight deal.

“I’m honored. I’m so excited as a fighter. You’re the person everybody guns for their entire career,” Mitrione told Emelianenko on the Bellator 165 broadcast. “Welcome to the family. Let’s give them a show.”