Well, we thought we knew who Fedor Emelianenko‘s opponent would be in his MMA fighting return in Japan on New Year’s Eve. Now, we’re back to square one.
Initially, it was reported that Fedor’s return to active competition at the Rizin FF event at the Saitama Super Arena would be MMA legend Tsuyoshi Kosaka, the first man to “defeat” the former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion.
Kosaka managed to get Fedor’s name in his win column on a technicality back in December of 2000, as their fight at the infamous Rings: King of Kings event was stopped in just 17 seconds after Fedor suffered a fight-ending cut.
“The Last Emporer” would go on to become arguably the best heavyweight MMA fighter in history, and certainly the best overall fighter of his era after the Kosaka bout. He would get revenge on the Japanese heavyweight later in his career, as he defeated Kosaka in a rematch at PRIDE Bushido 6 in April of 2006 by way of TKO, coincidentally enough due to doctor stoppage.
While it was believed that the two would compete in a “rubber match” on New Year’s Eve weekend in Japan, it has since been revealed that T.K. will instead fight journeyman heavyweight fighter James Thompson, who due to his freakish size and build, and more importantly his intense personality and fighting style, is a popular fighter in Japan.
With Kosaka and Thompson booked against each other at one of the two Rizin MMA events planned for next month, Fedor is back to having no publicly known opponent just five weeks out from his first fight in over three years.
Headlined by Fedor Emelianenko’s MMA return bout, Rizin FF takes place on December 31, 2015 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.