Former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko will return to action on June 17 in St. Petersburg, Russia, against UFC veteran Fabio Maldonado. Brazilian news outlet Combate first reported the news on Tuesday.
Emelianenko (35-4, 1 NC) came out of retirement on Dec. 31 after being out of competition since June 2012. He defeated Singh Jaideep in the first round at RIZIN FF 2.
Maldonado (22-9) last fought in November, losing to Corey Anderson by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 77. Following the loss, the Brazilian was released by the fight promotion. He’s coming off back-to-back losses. Maldonado hopes to get back in the win column and hand the Russian his first loss since coming out of retirement.
Although Fedor has negotiated with the UFC several times over the years, often saying he wanted to fight in the UFC, those negotiations have never landed him in the Octagon. As RIZIN attempts to rekindle the spirit of Pride FC, where Fedor attained legendary status, the Russian fighter appears content to fight for RIZIN and associated promotions like Fight Nights Global in St. Petersburg.