Russia's Fedor Emelianenko, widely considered the world's best heavyweight in mixed martial arts, will fight Fabricio Werdum in the main event of a Strikeforce card next month at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
Showtime will broadcast the June 26 card (10 p.m. ET), which marks Emelianenko's return to the cage following a seven-month hiatus.
The 33-year-old Emelianenko (31-1) is regarded as the most dominant MMA fighter not affiliated with the UFC. The lone blemish on his record came under unusual circumstances -- he was forced to give up when a cut resulting from an illegal elbow ended his 2000 match with Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. The 6-foot, 235-pound Fedor, the world's top-ranked heavyweight and No. 2-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in SI.com's MMA ratings, made his prime-time network TV debut in November on CBS, when he pounded Brett Rogers in a knockout victory.
Fedor is hoping to exact revenge for his brother and M-1 Global stablemate, Aleksander Emelianenko, who lost to Brazil's Werdum via arm triangle choke submission in the first round of their November 2006 bout in Holland. The 6-4, 240-pound Werdum, 32, won his most recent fight, a unanimous decision over Antonio Silva, on the same November day Fedor was last in action.
The matchup pits a master of Sambo, the Russian military combat system, against a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. The event will also be just the second opportunity for American viewers to watch Fedor.