MMA Odds and Ends for Monday: Fedor Returns… To Japan

Fedor laughs at a questionAfter rumors emerged a few weeks ago that Fedor Emelianenko was set to sign with the UFC, and could have been debuting with the organization as early as UFC 193 in Australia, “The Last Emperor” himself put those talks to bed. On Saturday night during Bellator Dynamite! the former PRIDE champion announced that he would be teaming up with an old colleague to return to Japan. Former PRIDE president Nobuyuki Sakakibara said that he will be returning to MMA promotion, and will be holding a New Year’s Eve card in Japan. Traditionally, NYE is one of the biggest celebrations in Japan, and one of the biggest nights for televised events. During the ‘Kakutogi Boom’ (MMA’s heyday in Japan) there were as many as three different promotions running extremely well attended and viewed combat sports cards (MMA, kickboxing, and pro wrestling in various combinations) on NYE. While little is known about Sakakibara’s planned NYE show — other than Emelianenko’s participation — that alone will make it the most intriguing event held in Japan in years for domestic and global audiences alike. It is not yet known who Emelianenko will fight, or if he will compete again after this show. As it stands, he has not signed a contract with Bellator, although Bellator will be partnering with Sakakibara and the event will air on Spike TV. The other news coming out of Bellator: Dynamite! is that Phil Davis will be Liam McGeary’s next challenger for the light heavyweight title, and it appears that bout will be taking place early in 2016. Davis defeated Emanuel Newton (via first-round submission) and Francis Carmont (via first-round knockout) to take the one-night tournament and earn his title shot. McGeary spent a good portion of the opening round on his back, but kept working for submissions and eventually caught Tito Ortiz in an inverted triangle to retain his belt. Davis should present some of the same challenges that Ortiz (and Emanuel Newton, prior to that) gave McGeary, as his takedown defense is still by far the weakest part of his game. At some point as they move up the ladder, fighters simply stop having success when they are willing to implement a gameplan that leads to them losing rounds, and facing a borderline top five fighter in the world is usually higher than that ceiling reaches. It will be interesting to see how (or if) McGeary alters his tactics when he squares off with Davis.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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