Fedor Emelianenko aiming for return at DREAM's year-end event
Veteran Russian fighter and reigning WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko is hoping to return to Japan for a likely but currently unannounced year-end, DREAM.7 event.
Emelianenko confirmed his interest in fighting on the New Year's Eve card while addressing the crowd at Tuesday's DREAM.6 show, which took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Emelianenko, a veteran of the Japan-based and now-defunct PRIDE Fighting Championships, has been a longtime fixture on the Japanese New Year's Eve shows. However, the soon-to-be 32-year-old fighter is also expected to fight Jan. 17 at an Affliction show in Anaheim, Calif.
Even for a dominant fighter such as Emelianenko, taking two fights in a three-week span has the potential for trouble. Unless he'd emerge from the DREAM bout all but unscathed, the Affliction fight -- one that he will likely headline -- would be in jeopardy.
That Affliction event, "Day of Reckoning," was originally scheduled for Oct. 17 in Las Vegas. Emelianenko had been scheduled to fight Andrei Arlovski in the night's main event, but he later pulled out of the show with a hand injury. Arlovski was then slated to headline the event against Josh Barnett.
After securing a partnership with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Productions, Affliction recently decided to postponed the event until Jan. 17. As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) reported last week, Affliction Vice President now expects Emelianenko to be on the card, though he said an opponent has not been determined.
"Day of Reckoning" will now take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. -- which hosted Affliction's debut event back in July -- and Atencio said the Barnett vs. Arlovski fight will go on as planned.
Emelianenko last fought in July at "Affliction: Banned" and scored a 36-second submission victory over former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. The victory -- his sixth straight via submission -- pushed his overall career record to 28-1.