‘The Legend of the Last Emperor’: Who is Fedor Emelianenko and why does his retirement matter?


Who is Fedor Emelianenko and why is he so revered?

Ahead of Emelianenko’s retirement fight against Ryan Bader on Saturday night, MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti and E. Casey Leydon explain the legend of “The Last Emperor” and the story behind one of the most celebrated heavyweights in MMA history.

That video can be watched above.

Footage courtesy of Zuffa LLC and Bellator MMA/Showtime.

Emelianenko headlines Bellator 290 on Feb. 4 in a heavyweight title rematch opposite Bader, which takes place at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

Widely considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, Emelianenko was one of the most dominant forces of the 2000s, reigning over Pride Fighting Championships as its heavyweight champion.

The 46-year-old has continued to find success in his waning years, winning four of his six Bellator appearances via first-round knockout. A cadre of MMA legends including Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, Chuck Liddell and more are expected to be in attendance to honor Emelianenko with a special ceremony on fight night at Bellator 290.

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