After much hype and speculation, MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko finally has an opponent for his return to the cage. Rizin Fighting Championships officially announced that Emelianenko will face former kickboxing champion Jaideep Singh in his highly anticipated comeback on New Year’s eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

Emelianenko’s comeback fight will be the featured match of the 2nd night of Rizin’s two day kickoff event. The first night will feature a heavyweight tournament which will be participated by Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal.

Fedor’s Ties With PRIDE

The 39-year old Emelianenko has not fought since beating Pedro Rizzo via knockout in 2012 and announcing his retirement afterwards. Earlier this year, Emelianenko was teasing a possible return to MMA and he was thought to be going to the UFC or Bellator. But he surprised a lot of people by signing with the newly established Rizin Fighting Championships in Japan which is headed by former PRIDE boss Nobuyuki Sakibara. Emelianenko was the face of PRIDE during its heyday and was its heavyweight champion from 2003-2007.

Fighting A Kickboxer

Singh is an Indian former kickboxing champion who has lived in Japan since he was a child. He has fought 51 times as a professional kickboxer but only twice as an  MMA fighter. His most recent MMA bout was a 2nd round TKO win over unknown 44-year old Carlos Toyota under the DEEP Promotion in Japan. To help him prepare for his bout with Emelianenko, Singh has is training alongside Chute Box founder Rudimar Fedrigo.

A Longshot

While the odds aren’t in for this bout yet, Singh is a long shot to defeat Emelianenko. Fedor is one of the most revered MMA fighters of all-time. He has shared the cage with the greatest of the greats and owns victories over Gary Goodridge, Mark Coleman, Mirko Filipovic, Mark Hunt, Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski. Known as the Last Emperor because of his dominating reign as PRIDE Champion and #1 Pound for Pound Fighter in the sport, Emelianenko has an MMA record of 34-4 with 10 KOs and 16 stoppages. On the other hand, Singh has fought just twice as an MMA fighter and doesn’t have enough experience to meddle with a legend.

Although it was expected that Emelianenko will be given a tune-up fight of sorts before he will fight a big name, nobody thought a lion like him would be fed a poor kitten in his highly anticipated cage return.

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