Rumors have circulated for the past 36 hours that WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and WAMMA lightweight champion Shinya Aoki would be involved in a grappling exhibition match to take place this Wednesday at Shinjuku Face in Tokyo, Japan during the third leg of the 2009 M-1 Challenge fight series.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com has confirmed with M-1 Global officials that Fedor and Aoki will indeed take part in an exhibition against each other during the course of the 19-bout show that includes head-to-head M-1 Challenge matchups between Team USA West vs. South Korea, host country Japan vs. England, and Spain vs. France.
The nature of the exhibition between Fedor and Aoki has been the subject of much speculation in the Japanese press, with some publications indicating that it will be a full-on submission grappling match while other outlets claim it will be a sambo wrestling exhibition.
When asked for details by Five Ounces of Pain, M-1 officials would only state that the Fedor vs. Aoki exhibition would be a “special sparring session” and that rules for the encounter are still being finalized.
Emelianenko has not competed since recording a first round knockout over Andrei Arlovski during Affliction and M-1’s “Day of Reckoning” event this past January. The special exhibition will also mark the first time the former PRIDE heavyweight champion has competed on Japanese soil since recording a first round submission over Hong Man Choi during “Yarrenoka!!” on New Year’s Eve in 2007.
Aoki fought earlier this month at DREAM.8, losing via TKO just 27 seconds into his welterweight matchup against Hayato Sakurai. The talented submission specialist had won his three previous consecutive bouts with wins over Todd Moore, Eddie Alvarez, and David Gardner.