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Bellator and Rizin FF to hold ‘historic’ event on Dec. 29 in Japan, Fedor on tap

Floyd Mayweather vs Tenshin Nasukawa - RIZIN.14
Saitama Super Arena
Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

An “emergency” press conference set for Wednesday in Tokyo is expected to announce Bellator’s debut in Japan.

Rizin FF CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara broke the news of the gathering on Monday, touting a “historical” cross-promotional event between the Japanese promotion and its American counterpart on Dec. 29 at a location to be announced.

Sakakibara will, of course, be in attendance at the presser, as will former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and Bellator president Scott Coker.

A Rizin FF official confirmed Sakakibara’s announcement to MMA Fighting. Coker could not immediately be reached for comment. The Bellator executive has long teased a trip overseas to the promotional home of its partner, with whom it shares talent.

Over the summer, Coker said the promotion was working on a major show with Rizin and teased the possibility of a heavyweight fight between Emelianenko and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, both of whom who once served under Sakikibara in the now-defunct PRIDE FC as major company stars.

Twelve years after Pride folded, Emelianenko and Jackson are now colleagues under the Bellator banner, and Jackson, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, is now firmly committed to the big-man division.

Coker also presented the possibility of rekindling a long-dormant rivalry between Emelianenko and veteran heavyweight Josh Barnett, who recently signed with Bellator. The standouts were set to meet at Affliction: Trilogy in 2009 when a positive drug test scratched Barnett from the card, leading to the promotion’s rapid implosion.

Rizin and Pride are known for promoting blowout events on New Year’s Eve. Emelianenko has been a regular fixture of the year-end shows throughout his decorated career.

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