Nobuyuki Sakakibara’s new promotion will debut in Japan on New Year’s Eve, and they may now have an opponent set for Fedor Emelianenko in the main event.
According to a report from MMAFighting.com, Emelianenko’s return will come against 28-year-old Jaideep Singh.
The Indian-Japanese fighter has an extensive kickboxing career, winning 40 of 51 career matches; however, his last kickboxing victory came in 2009, and his sole MMA appearance happened in Super Fight League in 2013.
In addition to that main event on Dec. 31, which will air on tape delay in the U.S. on Spike, the report states that Sakakibara’s new organization will be holding three events in a row, with cards coming on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 as well. They’re targeting a headlining bout between Shinya Aoki and a returning Kazushi Sakuraba at a catchweight for Dec. 29.
Penick’s Analysis: There’s all sorts of ridiculousness to these plans. Fedor fighting someone with virtually no MMA experience really shouldn’t be that surprising, as this move was about money and working with Sakakibara again. Expecting him to fight someone even remotely challenging when the options were extremely thin would have been too much. Still, Aoki-Sakuraba might be even more ridiculous; the 46-year-old Sakuraba’s been doing pro wrestling exclusively for the last several years, and lost four straight fights before leaving MMA in 2011. Coming back now is ill-advised, and though Aoki’s a smaller fighter, it’s a fight he very well should be able to win at this stage of their respective careers.