Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko, one of the best heavyweights in MMA history, is slowly returning from his retirement. He beat Jaideep Singh during RIZIN’s 2015 New Year’s Eve extravaganza show, and now he’s fighting in Russia’s Eurasia Fight Nights’ Fight Nights Global 50 later this month. His opponent is former UFC competitor, Fabio “Caipira de Aco” Maldonado. Maldonado, whose nickname roughly translates to “The Iron Hillbilly” is also a professional boxer, sporting a 24-0 record with 23 knockouts in the sweet science.
As is the protocol for Russian MMA, especially bouts involving the Emelianenkos, the hype video for this contest is insane. Fabio, in his BJJ gi and surrounded by his Brazilian pals, angrily punches the ground, cracking it. This act of foreign aggression causes a number of statues to explode, revealing the Russian men trapped inside. They quickly put on their kurtkas, the traditional sambo jacket, and gather around Fedor. Both groups grab flags and angrily walk towards each other, which looks a little awkward since the sambo uniform eschews pants. (Well, in reality, the first uniform had pants, but they were eaten by timber wolves, but the stoic Russians trained anyway.)
The video ends with a face off, and I’m way more into this conflict than Captain America: Civil War. Team Fabio, by the way. You can watch Fedor take on Fabio on Fight Nights Global 50 on June 17, most likely on UFC Fight Pass.