Bellator 198: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir is an iconic fight a long time in the making

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MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko (Getty)

CHICAGO — It is 2018 and neither Frank Mir nor Fedor Emelianenko are in the primes of their careers — and that is OK.

Despite the fact that they are not in their primes, the victor of the Bellator 198 primary occasion will take residence extra than simply a win — he’ll have earned the proper to name himself the biggest heavyweight of all time.

As Frank Mir and Fedor Emelianenko put together to do battle — with the winner shifting to the semifinals of the heavyweight grand prix to face Chael Sonnen — there’s an aura surrounding the room for the Bellator 198 press convention. It is palpable, and each fighters discover it.

Mir soaks every little thing in. He listens intently and laughs at questions being answered by the undercard fighters and Emelianenko. “The Final Emperor” would present his trademark stoic stare — apart from the one, uncommon smile he despatched Mir after answering a query.

Listening to them speak about the fight gave me a feeling I’ve by no means skilled in the lead-as much as a marquee matchup: I noticed the MMA world will witness a probably iconic battle between two of the sport’s legends.

Mir mirrored the feeling.

“This is going to be a fight individuals are going to be keep in mind (not simply) so far as individuals which might be followers of myself or Fedor, however people who find themselves followers of the sport,” Mir advised Sporting Information.

“This is an iconic fight. It’s essential. There’s a lot of strain on this fight.”

Mir (18-eleven) and Emelianenko (36-5) have been at the prime of their respective video games in 2004. Mir was the reigning UFC heavyweight champion, ripping the arms off of anybody who crossed his path. Emelianenko was the Satisfaction heavyweight champion, knocking out foes left and proper and snatching souls in the course of. A cross-promotional fight would have been the largest of all-time, nevertheless it by no means got here to be. 

Whereas Mir did beat Delight stalewarts Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the UFC, Emelianenko had been the goose he might by no means get into the pond — till now.

“Once I fought Nogueira, that’s essential as I think about that acquired introduced as much as Fedor as he fought Nogueira and Mirko Cro Cop,” Mir stated. “If you end up considered one of the faces of the sport resembling the handful individuals I simply talked about, once you face one another, that is introduced up and shall be remembered.”

Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing author and contributor for Sporting Information. Subscribe to his You Tube channel right here . You’ll be able to e-mail him at [email protected] and may discover him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA .