Bellator 269: Headliners Fedor Emelianenko and Tim Johnson media day interviews

Bellator 269
Credit: Bellator

On Oct. 23, Bellator returns to Showtime with Bellator 269. An event from Moscow, Russia that will air in the US on Saturday afternoon. The card is headlined by MMA legend and Russian sports icon Fedor Emelianenko — in his first bout in nearly two years — facing second-ranked heavyweight Tim Johnson.

Before they compete in this highly anticipated matchup, both participants in the cards main event took part in digital media day interviews. You can find both in the embedded videos below.

Fedor Emelianenko Bellator 269 media day interview

Former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion Emelianenko (39-6) last fought in December of 2019. On that night in Japan, the 45-year-old was victorious over fellow MMA greybeard, and former UFC light heavyweight champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The W was a return to the win column after the Russian came up short to Ryan Bader in the finals of the heavyweight Grand Prix 11 months earlier.

Emelianenko has won three of his five bouts in the Bellator cage, including Grand Prix wins over former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, and two-time UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen.

“Tim Johnson recently had a nice winning streak and that shows that he’s quite a good fighter. This was something that I took into consideration when looking at opponents,” Emelianenko said during the digital presser.

During his media day session, “The Last Emperor” spoke about his reasons for wanting to face Johnson, if he intends to fight again after this booking, and being the mentor to current Bellator champions Vadim Nemkov and Valentin Moldavksy.

Tim Johnson Bellator 269 media day interview

Tim Johnson (15-7) has undergone a bit of a renaissance in the Bellator cage over the last few years. The UFC veteran who was once viewed as a heavyweight gatekeeper scored a title opportunity in June on the back of consecutive victories over Cheick Kongo, Matt Mitrione, and Tyrell Fortune.

Although he came up short in his interim-championship fight against Moldavsky at Bellator 261, his rapid rise in the division caught the eye of his upcoming opponent and led to their booking at Bellator 269. It is the most high-profile fight the 36-year-old has had during an eleven-year run in the sport.

“I embrace fighting in Fedor’s home country. How many people get to experience something like that? I fought a Brazilian in Brazil [a win over Marcelo Golm in 2018], but this will be a little more intense,” Johnson said during his digial presser.

During his conversation with MMA media, Johnson spoke about landing this coveted fight with Emelianenko, the differences between Moldavksy and his upcoming foe, and more.

Bellator 269 kicks off with preliminary action at 12 pm ET on the promotion’s YouTube channel. The main card follows at 3 pm ET exclusively on Showtime.

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