Bellator 290: Fedor Emelianenko “Surprised” He’s Still Fighting at This Level
By FCF Staff
When Fedor Emelianenko announced he was coming out of retirement in 2015, chances are, not too many people predicted he would still be fighting for championships in 2022. In fact, recently the 46-year-old legend reported he’s also surprised he’s still fighting at this level.
Emelianenko is preparing to battle Bellator’s heavyweight champ, Ryan Bader, at the promotion’s February 4th card in Inglewood, California. At a recent press conference for Bellator 290, Emelianenko (40-6) was asked if he expected to be fighting top-tier fighters, at this stage of his life (quotes via Bellator press release).
“I’m surprised myself that I’m still able to fight at this level after all these years. I’ve preserved myself pretty well. And of course, thank you to my team because they support me all the time. I had a pretty good career and a pretty good package of different skills so I tried to preserve those skills until my later age.”
The Russian fighter and former PRIDE champ hasn’t fought since he quickly stopped Timothy Johnson in October, 2021. Saturday’s contest is expected to be the last of Fedor’s career.
“The only extra motivation for this fight is that I will be very happy to finish it. I can remember all my fights, no matter how fast they were. Some of them ended quickly, some didn’t. The most important and the first one that I remember still is the first fight with Antonio Nogueira for the belt in PRIDE.”
“I’m really thankful that all these legends and all these guys that I’ve known for years are going to come and support me on Saturday night. I’m really happy about that. I’m going to be very happy to see and talk to my friends who I’ve competed with inside the cage.”
Emelianenko and Bader fought before in the finals of Bellator’s 2019, heavyweight grand-prix. Bader (30-7) finished the fight with strikes in 35 seconds.