Bellator MMA 269: Fedor Vs. Johnson Virtual Media Availability Quotes

Capping a historic month of exceptional BELLATOR MMA action, Russian heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC) will make his highly anticipated return to the cage following a nearly 22-month absence when he squares off against No. 2-ranked contender Tim Johnson (15-7) at BELLATOR MMA 269: Fedor vs. Johnson on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m. ET live on SHOWTIME. In the co-featured bout inside the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia, former BELLATOR Heavyweight Champion Vitaly Minakov (22-1) will return to combat for the first time in more than two years when he faces No. 8-ranked Said Sowma (7-2).

SHOWTIME will televise the fantastic four-fight BELLATOR MMA 269Fedor vs. Johnson main card live at 3 p.m. ETAdditionally, all eight must-watch preliminary fights will stream live three hours earlier at Noon ET on the BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel, SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and Pluto TV.

Tickets for BELLATOR MMA 269: Fedor vs. Johnson are currently on sale at

Rounding out the four-bout SHOWTIME telecast will be the previously mentioned co-main event between Minakov and Sowma, Team Fedor’s Anatoly Tokov vs. Sharaf Davlatmurodov in a middleweight clash, and undefeated Russian phenom Usman Nurmagomedov (13-0) vs. Patrik Pietila (11-8). A previously scheduled bout between No. 9-ranked Andrey Koreshkov (24-4) vs. Rustam Khabilov (24-4) has been cancelled due to an undisclosed injury.

Here is what the fighters had to say on Tuesday, Oct. 19:

FEDOR EMELIANENKO: Russian Heavyweight Legend

“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.”

“MMA is the most joyful job that I could have. I’m never tired of the press events, and actually consider them to be a necessity to the business of combat sports, so I have gotten used to them over the years. As far as fighting alongside my friends and family, I think this can be difficult. When my friends and family are fighting with me on the same card, it’s important that I concentrate on my own fight and not get caught up in the rest. Because I am a professional and have been performing in this sport for a while now, I believe that I am good at simplifying everything when it comes to all of these factors.”

Continental Glory Up For Grabs At GAMMA European Championships In Kyiv

“In my next fight, I would prefer to go to Chicago instead of New York, but the plan for the next fight is really up to BELLATOR. If BELLATOR decides to go to a specific place, I will go. But, if it’s in America, it should be in Chicago.”

“It is great news and very exciting that Vadim Nemkov was able to defend his title and advance to the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Finals. On the topic of champions, I hope that before I leave this sport, we will have another world champion.”

TIM JOHNSON: No. 2-ranked BELLATOR Heavyweight Contender

“I embrace fighting in Fedor’s home country. How many people get to experience something like that? I fought a Brazilian in Brazil (unanimous decision over Marcelo Golm in February 2018), but this will be a little more intense.”

“I can’t go out there and think, ‘Hey, I’m fighting Fedor.’ This is just an opponent, and he is (standing) in front of my goals.”

“Fedor is a power puncher. He’s got good explosions. I’m preparing this fight to be in all three positions.”

“Fedor fights in front of you, looking to land that big right hand or that big uppercut. He is a well-rounded fighter. You can’t get lazy with him.”

“Tim Johnson is pretty low on the name power list. People know me, but I don’t think the big-time fans look at me as a name power guy.”

Gamma Leadership Meets With Ukrainian Sports Minister

“If Fedor beats me, this definitely is not going to be his last fight. If he gets a win over me, he will get a chance to potentially fight for the (heavyweight) belt again.”

VITALY MINAKOV: Former BELLATOR Heavyweight Champion

“It’s definitely a shame that I couldn’t compete for these past two years. Regardless, the past two-and-a-half months of training have been perfect. I’m still in shape and I’m still intact.”

“It is quite difficult with the American Visa. If BELLATOR is not going to come to Russia anytime soon, it will make it difficult. My plans are to stay at BELLATOR and in this sport.”

“Said (Sowma) and I know each other quite well and have trained at the same gym.  He is a comfortable person to spar with.”

“I haven’t always seen MMA as a professional career until I came to the BELLATOR tournament. In 2013 when I participated in the Grand Prix, I realized that MMA is something that I could build a career on. I decided to do it to win a title and achieve something in the sport.”

SAID SOWMA: No. 8-ranked BELLATOR Heavyweight Contender

“It’s a big difference when you have to travel across the world for a fight. It was difficult before, but definitely even more difficult now due to the additional restrictions and guidelines. Even though I am fighting in Minakov’s home country, I usually try to ignore the crowd as much as I can as it is, so it really shouldn’t be a factor for me.”

“I think I’m faster than Minakov and I will certainly try to use my speed to my advantage in this fight. I wasn’t so much interested in fighting Minakov as I was in traveling to Russia. I told BELLATOR that I really wanted to go and compete in this event, and the only fighter that I could have potentially matched up against was Minakov, so I took it.”

De Castro earns the win in long-awaited homecoming

“I’ve been training at ATT (American Top Team) for 11 years now, and my entire wrestling and jiu-jitsu background comes from that gym. One of the best things about my gym is the absolute goldmine of fighters and coaches. There is just so much talent there.”

“I’m naturally a slow starter inside of the cage, so I’m not sure how this fight is going to play out. Having said that, I do think a win over Minakov will put me in title contention, and that’s exactly what I intend on doing.”


SHOWTIME (U.S.) | OKKO (RUS) | BBC iPlayer (U.K.) | Virgin Media Sport (IRELAND)

Saturday, Oct. 23 – 10 p.m. MSK / 8 p.m. BST / 3 p.m. ET

Heavyweight Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC) vs. No. 2 Tim Johnson (15-7)

Heavyweight Co-Main Event: Vitaly Minakov (22-1) vs. No. 8 Said Sowma (7-2)

160-Pound Contract Weight Bout: No. 7 Usman Nurmagomedov (13-0) vs. Patrik Pietila (11-8)

Middleweight Bout: Anatoly Tokov (29-2) vs. Sharaf Davlatmurodov (18-3-1)


BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel | SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel | Pluto TV (US)

OKKO (RUS) | BBC iPlayer (UK) | Virgin Media Sport (IRELAND)

7 p.m. MSK / 5 p.m. BST / 12 p.m. ET


Heavyweight Bout: Kirill Sidelnikov (12-6) vs. Rab Truesdale (10-7-1)

Lightweight Bout: Vladimir Tokov (6-1) vs. Aymard Guih (15-11-1)

Flyweight Bout: Darina Mazdyuk (4-1) vs. Katarzyna Sadura (4-4)

Flyweight Bout: Irina Alekseeva (3-1) vs. Stephanie Page (5-2)

Bantamweight Bout: Brian Moore (14-7) vs. Nikita Mikhailov (7-1)

Welterweight Bout: Grachik Bozinyan (11-4) vs. Alexey Shurkevich (12-4)

Featherweight Bout: Aiden Lee (9-5) vs. Alexander Osetrov (8-2-1)

Featherweight Bout: Gadzhi Rabadanov (16-4-1) vs. Alexander Belikh (9-4)

*Card subject to change.