When Bellator MMA heads back to the Chicago area in April, the promotion will stage a clash between two of the most notable heavyweights in history.
Former Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko will take on former Ultimate Fighting Championship titlist Frank Mir at what is tentatively scheduled to be Bellator 196. The pairing, a quarterfinal in Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix, was already known, but the promotion formally announced the particulars on Monday.
Bellator 196 is currently slated for April 28 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. No other bouts have yet been announced for the card.
Emelianenko, 41, made an unsuccessful Bellator debut last June in the company’s New York debut, where “The Last Emperor” was knocked out in just 74 seconds by Matt Mitrione. The defeat broke a five-fight winning streak for Emelianenko and was his first bout since his controversial June 2016 majority decision over Fabio Maldonado.
The contest will be the promotional debut for the 38-year-old Mir, who hasn’t fought since his knockout loss to Mark Hunt in March 2016. Three weeks after the Hunt loss, Mir was notified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that he had tested positive for oral turinabol metabolites; he would serve a two-year suspension.
This past July, Mir was granted his release from the UFC after 27 fights and nearly 16 years with the company.