Former top-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko will make his fighting return to Japan when he meets decorated Judoka Satoshi Ishii at DREAM: Genkidesuka!!Oomisoka!! 2011 (or DREAM: New Year! 2011 for American audiences). The card, which will be co-promoted by M-1 Global and DREAM, will take place on New Year’s Eve from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Emelianenko stopped a three-fight losing streak when he defeated Jeff Monson in Russia last month. The iconic Russian (32-4-1) has not competed in Japan in over three years though at one point he was a regular feature on NYE events in the Land of the Rising Sun picking up memorable wins over “Zulu” and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the past.
Ishii (4-1-1) is an Olympic gold medalist in Judo for Japan. He owns MMA victories over the likes of Jerome LeBanner and Ikuhisa Minowa.
“Fedor has been in great shape, and is ready for what we think will be a hard and competitive fight,” M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan said in a press release.
Emelianenko-Ishii will serve as the main event for the card, which will feature 11 fights that are a mix of MMA, mixed rules and pro wrestling bouts. The event will air in North America on HDNet. Other match-ups expected for the card include Shinya Aoki vs. Satoru Kitaoka and Ryo Chonan vs. “Mach” Sakurai.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE
MMATraining Take: Fedor needs to continue to take fights like this, where he is the heavy favorite, to build back up confidence in his game. Fedor should be able to control Ishii, pushing himself back up the ranks to a possible bigger heavyweight fight in 2012.