Fedor Emelianenko Faces Satoshi Ishii At "Genki Desu Ka"Former long-time PRIDE Heavyweight Champion “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko will return to Japan for his next fight. The Russian sambo specialist is set to battle 2008 Olympic gold medallist in judo Satoshi Ishii at DREAM: “Genki Desu Ka” on December 31st in Saitama, Japan.

Emelianenko recently rebounded from a three-fight losing skid by defeating Jeff “The Snowman” Monson this past month. Prior to the setbacks, he was unbeaten in 28 fights. Ishii won four straight fights after dropping his pro debut and most recently fought to a contentious Draw with Paulo Filho.

The bout between Emelianenko (32-4-0, 1 NC) and Ishii (4-1-1), which had been heavily rumoured for weeks, was confirmed in a report from Sherdog.com earlier today. Both fighters are well-known to the Japanese audience, but Emelianenko will be competing in Japan for the first time in exactly four years and Ishii has not yet attracted the fan support in MMA that many had hoped that he would.

Emelianenko campaigned unsuccessfully in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, which began in February of this year. He was stopped by Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the quarterfinals and subsequently lost to former Strikeforce and PRIDE champion Dan “Hendo” Henderson before Henderson returned to the UFC. With many questioning Emelianenko’s future in MMA, he fought on and decisioned Monson on November 20th. The former top-ranked heavyweight now tries for his second straight win in his return to The Land of the Rising Sun.

Ishii was courted by multiple promotions, including the Ultimate Fighting Championship, before making his pro MMA debut two years ago at K-1 Dynamite!! The hype surrounding him collapsed quickly after he was defeated by fellow Olympic medallist Hidehiko Yoshida, but Ishii bounced back with four straight wins in 2010. In September, he travelled to Brazil to face former WEC champion Filho and appeared to have handily won the fight, but the judges inexplicably ruled the bout a Draw as boos rained down from the crowd. The 24-year-old Ishii faces his toughest test against the sport’s all-time leading heavyweight.

DREAM: “Genki Desu Ka” is set for December 31st at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The uniquely-titled event – which translates to “How Are You?” – is named after a popular phrase used by general producer Antonio Inoki and replaces the traditional K-1 “Dynamite!!” New Year’s Eve card.


DREAM: “Genki Desu Ka” Fight Card (to date; subject to change):

– Hiroyuki “Streetfight Bancho” Takaya vs “Lion” Takeshi Inoue [DREAM Featherweight Championship]
– Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki vs Satoru Kitaoka [DREAM Lightweight Championship]

– Winner of Banuelos-Imanari vs Winner of Fernandes-Diniz [DREAM Bantamweight GP Final]
– Antonio Banuelos vs Masakazu “Ashikan Judan” Imanari [DREAM Bantamweight GP Semi-Final]
– Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes vs Rodolfo Marques Diniz [DREAM Bantamweight GP Semi-Final]
– Hideo Tokoro vs Yusup “Maestro” Saadulaev [DREAM Bantamweight GP Reserve Bout]

– “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko vs Satoshi Ishii
– Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri vs Kazuyuki “Little Hercules” Miyata
– Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii vs Karla Benitez
– Hayato “Mach” Sakurai vs Ryo “The Piranha” Chonan



(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)

  1. Glad to see the King back in Japan.
    Great card as always.