Jaideep Singh has already signed a contract to fight Fedor Emelianenko on Dec. 31 for Rizin FF, however, that hasn't stopped the upstart promotion from searching for a new opponent for "The Last Emperor."
In fact, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation, Singh's chances to fight Emelianenko have now been dropped to approximately 5-10 percent.
Since MMAFighting.com reported that Rizin was targeting Singh vs. Emelianenko, Singh was booked to fight for the vacant DEEP megaton title on three days' notice versus Carlos Toyota earlier this month. Singh won the fight, which was set up in hopes of making him looking stronger before the Emelianenko fight, via second-round TKO, however, two issues alarmed Rizin officials following the fight, according to sources.
First, Rizin officials weren't blown away by Singh's performance, which is somewhat understandable considering his lone MMA fight happened more than two years ago. Even more troubling for them, though, was that they felt Singh looked out of shape and would be a tough sell for the Japanese public.
So they have now begun scouring the free-agent market to see if there are better options for Emelianenko. If they can't find a better replacement, Rizin will go back to Singh, the 28-year-old Indian-Japanese former K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 in Seoul champion, who they initially thought had a strong enough resume and background to attract a strong Japanese audience on local Fuji TV. That's the key here: while the likes of Soa Palelei, Shawn Jordan and even Randy Couture have been briefly discussed, Rizin is looking for an opponent with a strong following in Japan more so than anywhere else, including the United States.
Rizin officials were hoping to already announce Emelianenko's opponent, but they are now willing to take their time to find the best fighter out there.
In other Rizin news, former Total Nonstop Action wrestler Lei'd Tapa is being considered as an opponent for multiple-time jiu-jitsu world champion Gabrielle Garcia, according to sources. Tapa recently started training at American Top Team in Florida, and UFC fighter Amanda Nunes mentioned on Twitter that she will be fighting Garcia.
Also, Kanako Murata, the 2011 and 2012 junior world wrestling champion, is in talks to make her MMA debut for Rizin against an unknown opponent. Invicta may supply her opponent.