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‘Let him savor this thing’: No rush on deciding Fedor’s next move after stunning Bellator 269 win

·3 min read

Fedor Emelianenko did it again.

In the Bellator 269 headliner Saturday, Emelianenko (40-6 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) fought for the first time in almost two years and flattened Tim Johnson with a first-round knockout combination. For both “The Last Emperor” and his current promoter, Scott Coker, the promotion’s debut in Moscow was a special one.

“I’m really happy everything worked out the same way we were thinking (it would),” Emelianenko told MMA Junkie through an interpreter at a virtual post-fight news conference. “I’m very happy for the fact we made happy the audience, and we delivered really such great joy to our fans, to those who follow our career and Bellator events.”

Coker echoed the sentiment and called it a “special night.”

“Being a promoter for so long, there’s a few times that just capture that moment in time,” Coker said. “This is that night. It was like, ‘Wow.’ At 45, he can still bring it. He threw combinations at Tim that I haven’t seen for a little while honestly. I think that the pressure of him being at home really helped him. When I saw him yesterday, he seemed so focused, and I think a lot was riding on the line for him. He’s here, and he’s proud to be here. All of his people were here. It was just an amazing night. It was like, ‘Wow.'”

The bout vs. Johnson has long been touted as the first leg of a two-fight “retirement tour” for the heavyweight MMA legend, though more recently Emelianenko has been non-committal about his future beyond Bellator 269.

So will Emelianenko fight again?

“I will answer this question tomorrow,” Emelianenko said, with a smile.

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Emelianenko, 45, said he needs to go home and discuss his fighting future with his family before he commits. However, if another fight does happen, Emelianenko likes the idea of fighting in the U.S.

“It is a lot easier for me to perform in America,” Emelianenko said. “I don’t have such huge, huge attention. I do get attention, but all of the events are strictly planned. At home, all our camp and our preparation for the fight, they took place under the supervision of media, journalists, and so far and so on.”

While Coker was equally as passive when prodded about the final fight remaining on Emelianenko’s Bellator deal, he did provide a timeline he’d aim for the final fight of the Russian legend’s career, should he commit to it.

“We have scheduled one more fight for him,” Coker said. “I know him. He’s looked really good and beat (a top) contender, but let him enjoy the victory. Let him really savor this thing, and we’ll revisit with him maybe in a month. I think the next event we’ll have, we’ll probably schedule it early next year or maybe Spring of next year. That’s when you’ll see Fedor fight again.”

Bellator 269 took place Saturday at VTB Arena in Moscow. The main card aired on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.

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Twitter reacts to Fedor Emelianenko's walk-off KO of Tim Johnson at Bellator 269

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