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Epic vs. Awesome: Survivor Rivals Boston Rob and Russell Hantz to Duel Again on Redemption Island

Survivor, Russell Hantz, Rob Mariano CBS/Robert Voets

It's redemption time for two Survivor icons. 

Survivor superman Boston Rob Mariano is squaring off against master manipulator Russell Hantz in Redemption Island, the reality competition's 22nd season, CBS finally confirmed today.

Russell is the rivalry's defending champion: He scored the first victory when he engineered the ouster of Rob, his Villain tribe's dominant alpha male in Heroes vs. Villains.

This season, the famous foes—neither of whom has yet earned the title of Sole Survivor—face off in opposing tribes.

Read on to hear what host Jeff Probst told us about the clash of the two titans...

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Jeff was already contemplating the mano a mano contest when I interviewed him in Nicaragua before the start of season 21. "Rob vs. Russell I could see," the Emmy-winning host and producer mused. "At the [Heroes vs. Villains] live show, Boston Rob said to Russell, 'I'd surely play again and kick your ass.'"

How does Jeff himself think the Survivor superstars match up?

"I don't know how Russell'd do if he played again," Jeff mused last summer. "I don't know if he could last or not."

Probst, who makes no apologies for his Mariano man-crush, raved, "Rob could still play and win. That guy is so damn smart. I wish I was that smart. He gets stuff, man."

Survivor: Redemption Island premieres Wednesday, Feb. 16. Who do you think will win the historic battle? 

PHOTOS: Meet the Castaways of Survivor: Redemption Island

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