The fight will be the main event of Bellator 172: Fedor vs. Mitrione on Saturday, February 18 at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. This will be the first Fedor fight in Bellator, but not the last – the greatest heavyweight in MMA history has signed a multi-fight contract.
“It’s great to be back in business with Fedor,” said Bellator MMA President Scott Coker. “The man is a legend both inside and outside of the cage and I’m elated to bring him back Stateside for the American MMA fans to witness him fight Matt Mitrione in San Jose. He and I go quite aways back, and I look forward to continuing to build our partnership here in Bellator MMA.”
Mitrione left the UFC on a two-fight losing streak, but turned it around after moving to Bellator, beating Carl Seumanutafa and Oli Thompson via T/KO.
In 2011, Fedor went on a three-fight losing streak, to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, and Dan Henderson. His management then matched him with lesser fighters, and he won three in a row, and retired in 2012.
The Last Emperor returned to the sport late in 2015, with a win over the unthreatening Singh Jaideep. He followed that up with a controversial win over the durable Fabio Maldonado. Fedor has faced criticism for not facing a high-level of competition, but that has certainly been silenced by this fight. Whether Fedor at 40 after nearly 17 years of fighting has sufficient ability is another question.
Fedor was not the only huge name in MMA to appear at the event. Whether by happenstance or design, former UFC welterweight Georges St-Pierre was also in attendance.