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Sources: Fedor Emelianenko, Strikeforce Optimistic of Finalizing Deal Soon

The Fedor Emelianenko-Strikeforce renegotiations are progressing forward, and both sides are optimistic a contract will be finalized soon, sources close to the situation tell MMA Fighting.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a source in Emelianenko's camp told MMA Fighting that though the process has been and remains complicated, forward momentum makes it appear that a resolution could soon be reached. The source added that a few recent sticking points had been addressed, and while there are still details to iron out, talks continue.

Perhaps most importantly, Emelianenko is itching to get back in the cage.

"Fedor wants to fight as soon as possible," the source said. "Nothing is finalized, but that's not a negative thing. There is no negative connotation to that from our side. It's a complicated process. But it's going to get done."

Emelianenko (32-1, with 1 no contest) was originally rumored to be part of the upcoming April 17 Strikeforce on CBS card, but his participation never materialized due to contract renegotiations between his M-1 management company and Strikeforce, which reportedly centered around co-promotion issues (Emelianenko is a 20 percent owner of M-1). The source said that was a bit of an oversimplification, saying the two sides also addressed other issues that have not been reported, but that he could not talk about due to legal confidentialitiy clauses.

A bout with Fabricio Werdum has long been the expected direction for Emelianenko's return, but even that remains up in the air as time passes. The 33-year-old international heavyweight star hopes to make his return in the summertime. He last fought in Nov. 2009, defeating Brett Rogers via second-round TKO.

The source close to him said that even as the key April show approaches for Strikeforce, the San Jose, California-based company continues devoting resources to working towards a deal.

"I think our side is appreciative of that," he said. "Fedor's not getting any younger. He wants to fight. We're glad we're hopefully down to the last few issues."

Reached for comment, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker offered a simple yet direct statement, saying, "We hope to wrap up our negotiations soon and have Fedor back in the cage soon."

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