Bellator will return to the Chicago area in late April, and two of the sport’s all-time elite heavyweights will meet in an opening-round tournament matchup.Former UFC champion Frank Mir (18-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will meet ex-PRIDE FC titleholder Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in the main event at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., outside Chicago on April 28. Bellator officials made the formal announcement today. The main card will air on Paramount following prelims on MMAjunkie.
No other fights were announced for the main card, and an event number is not yet known. (Bellator 195 takes place March 2 in Thackerville, Okla.)
Mir will be making his Bellator debut and will be fighting for the first time in more than two years. After two regional fights to start his career, he fought 27 times in the UFC starting with UFC 34 in November 2001.
Starting with a TKO loss to Junior Dos Santos in an attempt to get the heavyweight title back, he has dropped six of his past eight. But in between, he had a pair of UFC fight-night bonuses for first-round knockouts of Antonio Silva and Todd Duffee.
In early April 2016, after a loss to Mark Hunt, USADA announced Mir had tested positive for a banned steroid. In July 2017, Mir was granted his release by the UFC, and five weeks later announced he had signed with Bellator.
Emelianenko finally made his Bellator debut in June 2017, but was knocked out by Matt Mitrione in 74 seconds at Bellator: NYC in Madison Square Garden in New York. That snapped a five-fight winning streak for “The Last Emperor” that came after a three-fight skid under the Strikeforce banner in 2010-11.For more on Bellator: Fedor vs. Mir, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.