Last Emperor returns to Japan to take on Olympic judo giant

Fedor Emelianenko (RIA Novosti / Alexsey Druginyn)
Fedor Emelianenko is returning to Japan for the first time in four years to test 2008 Olympic judo champion Satoshi Ishii on December 31.

The contract has been signed between M-1Global and Dream promoting companies. The bout will be the central event at the traditional New Year's Eve martial arts fest in Tokyo’s Saitama Super Arena.

PRIDE champion and former long-term best heavyweight in the world, Emelianenko lost three straight fights in Strikeforce to put his career on the verge, but recovered in style, demolishing American Jeff Monson in Moscow last month.

The Last Emperor holds a 32-4-1 career record against his opponent’s humble 4-1-1. The 24-year-old Japanese athlete started fighting MMA professionally in 2009. After losing his debut fight to fellow Olympic gold medal winner Hidehiko Yoshida, Ishii improved his techniques to win four fights in a row.

The bout will be symbolic for both fighters. It was in Japan where Fedor became a sports legend in the early 2000s, while Satoshi Ishii has always dreamed of taking on the Russian. Soon after winning the Olympic gold medal in Beijing, Ishii called out Emelianenko. But back then he had no experience as a professional fighter, and it took more than three years for the fight to be arranged

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