Bellator will make their debut in Russia this weekend, and they will do so with one of the country’s most notable MMA fighters. Fedor Emelianenko will make his return on Saturday, facing Timothy Johnson in the main event of Bellator 269 from the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia.
Here’s a preview of the entire evening.
Preliminary Card (12:00PM EDT / 7:00PM MSK) (Youtube)
Bout 1: Gadzhi Rabadanov (16-4-2) vs. Alexander Belikh (9-4) (Featherweight)
Gadzhi Rabadanov will return for his second Bellator appearance when facing Alexander Belikh in the opening bout of the evening.
Rabadanov had his promotional debut just a few months back, scoring a first-round finish win against Daniel Carey. He made the move to Bellator after attaining 15 pro wins since 2013.
Rabadanov missed weight for the fight Friday, coming in two pounds over the non-championship limit.
Belikh is coming off a loss that he took against Timur Khizriev last year on an AMC Fight Nights card. He had attained a strong four-fight winning streak before then.
Bout 2: Aiden Lee (9-5) vs. Aleksandr Osetrov (8-2-1) (Featherweight)
Bellator veteran Aiden Lee will return on Saturday in a fight against Aleksandr Osetrov.
Osetrov’s Bellator debut gives him a chance to build upon an already strong year. The 25-year-old has picked up three wins in this 2021 alone, with two victories being via stoppage.
The bout will be Lee’s fifth appearance in Bellator. He had a two-fight winning streak snapped by promotional star Aaron Pico earlier this year, getting submitted in the third round with an anaconda choke.
Lee came in over the featherweight limit at the weigh-ins, missing weight by one-and-a-half pounds.
Bout 3: Grachik Bozinyan (11-4) vs. Alexey Shurkevich (12-4) (Welterweight)
Attempting to build off a recent win, Grachik Bozinyan will fight Alexey Shurkevich on Saturday’s prelims.
Bozinyan picked up his first Bellator win in April, going three rounds for a unanimous decision win against Demarques Jackson. The victory put him back into the win column after losing his promotional debut to Austin Vanderford in 2019.
Shurkevich will be appearing under the Bellator banner for the first time in his career. He has won five consecutive fights over the past year, staying active and finishing numerous opponents.
Bout 4: Brian Moore (14-7) vs. Nikita Mikhailov (7-1) (Bantamweight)
Win streaks will collide in the fourth bout when Brian Moore and Nikita Mikhailov fight.
Moore has been on a strong run since 2019, picking up three straight wins in Bellator. He most recently fought in July, defeating Jordan Winski on scorecards.
Mikhailov hasn’t competed in Bellator before, but he enters the weekend with a strong record of seven wins through eight appearances. His last fight goes back some time, having taken place in April of 2019.
Bout 5: Irina Alekseeva (3-1) vs. Stephanie Page (5-2) (Catchweight 130 lbs)
Irina Alekseeva and Stephanie Page will meet at a catchweight of 130 pounds during the prelims.
Alekseeva’s four-fight pro career has taken place solely in 2019 so far. Her rookie year started with three wins in just three months. Alekseeva took a loss in her last appearance, losing to Lilya Kazak in December 2019.
Page is also coming off a loss, losing a decision to LFA alum Flore Hani in July. Before then, Page had won five straight.
Bout 6: Darina Mazdyuk (3-1) vs. Katarzyna Sadura (4-4) (Flyweight)
Moving to the flyweight division next, Darina Mazdyuk and Katarzyna Sadura will fight in the sixth bout.
Both fighters are returning after an extended time out of the cage.
Mazdyuk last fought in March 2020. She has won three of her four bouts, although the combined record of her opponents is one win and zero losses – three opponents she has faced were making their pro debut in the fight.
Sadura’s last fight was in late 2019, getting submitting by with an arm triangle choke.
Bout 7: Kirill Sidelnikov (12-6) vs. Rab Truesdale (10-7-1) (Heavyweight)
Heavyweights will finish the prelims, as Kirill Sidelnikov and Rab Truesdale will meet in the seventh bout.
Sidelnikov has fought in Bellator before, although he has been inactive since 2019. He scored his first Bellator win in his last showing, beating then-undefeated Domingos Barros at Bellator 230. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for Sidelnikov.
Truesdale, an MMA veteran of a decade, will be making his Bellator debut. He had a two-fight winning streak broken in July, getting subbed by Kasim Arias on an EMC card.
Main Card (3:00PM EDT / 10:00PM MST) (Showtime)
Bout 8: Anatoly Tokov (29-3) vs. Sharaf Davlatmurodov (18-3-1) (Middleweight)
Anatoly Tokov will make his return on Saturday’s main card, facing Sharaf Davlatmurodov at middleweight.
Tokov has built up an impressive flawless five-fight record since joining Bellator in 2017. Out of his five wins, four have come via stoppage. His last win was at Bellator 229 in 2019, stopping Hracho Darpinyan with elbows.
Davlatmurodov also enters the weekend with a strong series of wins. The rising middleweight has been successful in his past six bouts, including two decision victories from earlier this year.
Bout 9: Usman Nurmagomedov (13-0) vs. Patrik Pietila (11-8) (Catchweight 160 lbs)
Heavy favorite Usman Nurmagomedov will attempt to preserve his undefeated record when fighting Patrik Pietila.
This fight is one that heavily favors Nurmagomedov on paper. Sports betting sites have listed him as a lopsided favorite to win his fight, with odds sitting around the -2000 range. He has scored 13 wins since turning pro in 2017, including wins in Bellator over Mike Hamel and Manny Muro.
Pietila enters Saturday with a rocky record of 11 wins and eight losses. He lost his Bellator debut in 2019, losing via unanimous decision to Ryan Roddy at Bellator 227.
Bout 10: Vitaly Minakov (22-1) vs. Said Sowma (7-2) (Heavyweight)
Impressive heavyweight Vitaly Minakov will compete for the first time since 2019 when facing Said Sowma on Saturday’s co-main event.
Minakov has only lost once through 23 fights as a pro. That loss came in his Bellator debut in early 2019, getting defeated by veteran Cheick Kongo via unanimous decision. He bounced back later that year, finishing Timothy Johnson within a round with strikes.
In a similar situation, Sowma has won and lost a bout since joining Bellator. The former Titan FC Heavyweight Champion lost his promotional debut in November 2020 to Tyrell Fortune, but bounced back in emphatic fashion in July by stopping Ronny Markes in just over a minute.
Bout 11: Fedor Emelianenko (39-6) vs. Timothy Johnson (15-7) (Heavyweight)
Heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko has the home-field advantage on Saturday night. Fighting in front of his home country of Russia, Emelianenko will return against Timothy Johnson.
Emelianenko is recognized by many as one of the most, if not the most notable fighter who never competed in the UFC. He has fought for over two decades, including long runs in promotions like Pride FC and Strikeforce.
Emelianenko has been part of the Bellator roster since 2017, putting together three wins and two losses against other veterans on the roster. His last fight was in late 2019, stopping fellow Pride FC vet Rampage Jackson within a round with punches.
Like many fighters on this card, Emelianenko hasn’t fought since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He had his own struggle with the virus earlier this year, getting admitted to a hospital in January to help deal with symptoms.
Johnson has been active throughout Emelianenko’s time outside of the cage. He has fought four times since 2020, putting together a campaign that brought him to a title fight recently. The veteran put together three consecutive wins in 2020, including a win over veterans Cheick Kongo and Matt Mitrione.
The win streak put Johnson in an interim heavyweight belt position earlier this year. He was unsuccessful in that challenge, going five rounds against Valentin Moldavsky and losing via unanimous decision.
The fight gives both fighters a chance to kick-off a new campaign at heavyweight – but only one will be able to do so.