Typically, December 29 and December 31 belongs to RIZIN Fighting Federation when it comes to fights at the Saitama Super Arena. Though that still remains true with the December 31 event, the December 29 show will be shared with Bellator MMA this year in a Bellator x RIZIN show dubbed ‘Bellator: Japan’. The main event will feature a clash between legends as Fedor Emelianenko faces Quinton Jackson.
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The news was announced at a press conference this morning featuring RIZIN boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara, Bellator boss Scott Coker, Fedor Emelianenko, and Quinton Jackson.
At 43-years-old, Fedor Emelianenko (38-6, 1NC) is a true legend of the sport and arguably the greatest heavyweight combat sports athlete of all time. Perhaps best known for going unbeaten in thirty fights between 2000 and 2009, Emelianenko is 4-2 since returning from a 2012 retirement in 2015. This includes wins over Fabio Maldonado, Chael Sonnen, and Frank Mir. Recently, Fedor fought for Bellator heavyweight gold, but was on the wrong end of a 35-second knockout against Ryan Bader.
Quinton Jackson (38-13) was, much like Emelianenko, an absolute stable of the now defunct PRIDE FC organization. The former UFC champion has made a home in Bellator MMA in recent years. “Rampage” recently snapped a two-fight skid by defeating Wanderlei Silva to make his record against the Brazilian sit at 2-2. This heavyweight bout will be Jackson’s first fight in Japan since a 2012 win over Ryan Bader.
This is the sole bout announced for the show as of right now. Taking place on December 29, live from the Saitama Super Arena, this will be Bellator’s first show in Japan. And all signs point to them going all-out for this fight card. Expect multiple Bellator vs. RIZIN bouts.