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‘It was Khabib’s idea’ – Eagle FC president details plans for Fedor fight


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Shamil Zavurov has shared hopes for a showdown between MMA icons Fedor Emelianenko and Junior dos Santos

A potential fight between Russian icon Fedor Emelianenko and Brazilian great Junior dos Santos was dreamed up by Khabib Nurmagomedov and would be an intriguing clash for MMA fans, says Eagle FC president Shamil Zavurov.


Dos Santos is making his Eagle FC debut in a heavyweight main event against Yorgan De Castro in Miami on Friday night, in what will be the first fight for the Brazilian outside the UFC in 14 years. 

Eagle FC owner Khabib has said if Dos Santos prevails, a cross-promotion contest could be next up against heavyweight legend Emelianenko – who has one fight remaining on his Bellator deal.

Bellator boss Scott Coker confirmed this week that he had already chatted with Khabib and that the pair would meet for a dinner date to discuss the plan further.   

Thanks for the call @TeamKhabib, looking forward to sitting down next week, dinner’s on you. #kingofcollaboration 👑🤝 https://t.co/e1ZtYgd1hC

— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) May 18, 2022

In exclusive comments to RT Sport, Eagle FC president Zavurov said a meeting between Emelianenko and former UFC champion Dos Santos would be a mouth-watering one.

“It was Khabib’s idea. Khabib personally spoke to Bellator president Scott Coker,” said Zavurov.  

“I think if they agree, we can hold this fight with Eagle FC and Bellator, or at a joint tournament.

“Joint tournaments are normal practice in the world of MMA. For example, for two years we’ve been holding a tournament in memory of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov together with Fight Nights.

“Fedor Emelianenko versus Junior dos Santos would be a really cool fight and any format is acceptable,” he added.

READ MORE: Khabib pitches fight plan for fellow Russian legend

Emelianenko – considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight in MMA history – was last in action in an emotionally charged return to Moscow at Bellator 269 last October, when he knocked out America’s Tim Johnson in the first round of their main event.

There were suggestions that the 45-year-old could have a blockbuster retirement bout in Moscow, although the conflict in Ukraine has seemingly put paid to that notion.

As for the next name on his list, there were reports that ‘The Last Emperor’ wanted the chance to avenge his defeat against Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader.

Emelianenko is considered to be among the greatest ever to do it. © Masashi Hara / Getty Images

Zavurov said Emelianenko would naturally need to be sounded out about a potential bout with Dos Santos.

“We haven’t had any conversations with Fedor regarding this fight, he has a contract with Bellator.

“The Bellator management will communicate about his desire to participate. Fedor may have his own plans, there was talk that his next fight would be the last of his career,” said Zavurov.

Read more

WATCH: Russian MMA icon Fedor Emelianenko claims sensational KO win over US rival Johnson at Bellator homecoming in Moscow (VIDEO)

Zavurov cautioned that Dos Santos would first have to overcome the “a tough” challenge of fellow former UFC veteran De Castro – and look good in the process – to entertain any idea of a showdown with Emelianenko.

Dos Santos, 38, is riding a four-fight losing streak which bookended his time with the UFC, although that run contained defeats to the likes of reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and title challenger Cyril Gane.

Indeed, the Brazilian’s list of past opponents reads like a ‘who’s who’ of heavyweight icons – with the glaring omission of former PRIDE king Emelianenko.

“Let’s see the result. If Dos Santos wins confidently against De Castro, wins by knockout, then a potential fight with Fedor will become even more interesting for fans, ” said Zavurov.

“I believe that if Dos Santos is in good shape, he can become an even more dangerous opponent for Fedor than Ryan Bader.

“He’s a very big heavyweight with great boxing and heavy punching. A former UFC champion. We’ll see what shape he’s in at our tournament in Miami.

“Maybe he’ll make a call-out right after the fight. Events are unfolding very quickly. Scott Coker has already stated that he is ready to discuss the terms. Let’s see what happens,” added Zavurov.


Junior dos Santos vs Yorgan de Castro #EagleFC47: Dos Santos vs. De Castro | TOMORROW 6P ET | LIVE and FREE only on FLXcast worldwide and Combate in 🇧🇷 | Sign up today at https://t.co/QslxaiHw1p pic.twitter.com/TDarEKZXUV

— Eagle FC (@EagleFightClub) May 19, 2022

Eagle FC 47 takes place at FLXcast Arena in Miami, Florida, and features an 11-fight card which will be broadcast for free on FLXcast.

The co-main event sees former Bellator champion Hector Lombard face Thiago Silva in a light-heavyweight clash. 

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