Fedor Emelianenko to return against Pedro Rizzo this summer


(Emelianenko posing with his Pride FC belts)

M-1 Global has announced that former Pride FC heavyweight champion FedorEmelianenko will face Pedro Rizzo on June 21 at the Ice Palace in St.Petersburg, Russia.

M-1 Global's director of operations Evgeni Kogan broke the news on Fridaythrough his Twitter account. Rumors had circulated that the strugglingpromotion was working towards a fight with one-time UFC veteran Rolles Gracie,but apparently decided on Rizzo instead.

Between 2010-2011, Emelianenko dropped three-straight fights to FabricioWerdum, Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson. The losses dropped him from his perchas the sport's best heavyweight. He had held that mantle for several yearsafter dominating the division from 2001-2009. During that stretch he defeatedtop fighters like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko "Cro Cop"Filipovic as well as UFC heavyweight champions Mark Coleman, Tim Sylvia andAndrei Arlovski.

Since leaving Strikeforce, Emelianenko has won back-to-back fights overquintessential veteran Jeff Monson and Olympic champion Satoshi Ishii.

Rizzo fought three times for the UFC heavyweight belt between 2000-2001, but hewas never able to capture the title. He does hold victories over Arlovski,Ricco Rodriguez and Josh Barnett. Rizzo has not fought since defeating KenShamrock at Impact FC 2 in 2010.