http://mmajunkie.com/news/18986/m-1...anenko-vs-fabricio-werdum-set-for-june-26.mmaFedor Emelianenko (31-1 MMA, 1-0 SF) and M-1 Global will once again co-promote an event with Strikeforce.
While there had been some concern the two promotions would be unable to reach an agreement as to the terms of a future fight card, Strikeforce today announced that Emelianenko's return to the cage has finally been set.
As has long been rumored, Emelianenko will face Fabricio Werdum (13-4-1 MMA, 2-0 SF) at a June 26 co-promoted event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
The main card airs live on Showtime.
The deal comes after lengthy negotiations between Strikeforce and M-1 Global following disagreements concerning the three-fight partnership between the companies that arose concerning this past November's "Fedor vs. Rogers" event.
M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the bulk of the concerns centered around the branding of the shows, though there were some financial issues to address as well.
"When two organizations decide to work together on a project like this, it would figure that the brands of both of the companies involved in the project would be recognized equally in the project," Finkelchtein said. "I think it's fair enough to say that everyone who saw the Nov. 7 show essentially had no idea that it was a co-promotion between M-1 and Strikeforce. It looked like a Strikeforce show. The fact that we had our logo on the mat didn't make us stand out at all from any of the other sponsors. The small logos that we had and the graphics that we had, they didn't spell out co-promotion in the way that we had expected.
"In terms of the financial side of things, we invested money into the project, and it was a considerably larger amount of money than Strikeforce. All we want going forward is what was promised to us. We don't want additional co-promotion. We don't want additional branding. We don't want additional money. We just want what was promised to us in the negotiations prior to this relationship being entered into. It's a little bit of this and a little bit of that, essentially, and nothing on top of what was promised."
With those issues apparently resolved, Emelianenko can now return to action.
"The Last Emperor" brings an incredible 27-fight winning streak into the matchup in a run that includes a second-round TKO victory over Brett Rogers in their November meeting. Emelianenko is widely regarded as the best heavyweight in mixed martial arts history, though his reputation as the world's current top pound-for-pound fighter has taken a hit in recent years due a lack of activity.
Nevertheless, Emelianenko has earned stoppages in his past eight fights. That stretch includes first-round finishes of former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia.
Meanwhile, Werdum enters the matchup on the strength of two-straight victories under the Strikeforce banner. The four-time UFC veteran was released from the world's largest promotion following an October 2008 loss to Junior dos Santos. "Vai Cavalo" has bounced back with Strikeforce wins over Antonio Silva and Mike Kyle.
The winner of the Emelianenko-Werdum matchup would likely emerge as the top contender for the May 15 contest between current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and Rogers.