Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko left the sold out Sears Centre and the many watching on primetime network television believers in the legend that is Fedor. With a singular punch that ignited the crowd and sent Brett Rogers crumbling to the mat, Fedor cemented his status as the best pound for pound fighter in the world. Brett Rogers was noticeably nervous in the ring but landed the first significant punch of the fight, a straight jab that bloodied the nose of the Russian. Fedor never panicked. He was taken to the ground and punched multiple times to the head. He remained expressionless. The stoic fighter took Brett Rogers’ best shot and never blinked. Was the fight a defining performance for Emelianenko or was he exposed a bit by the bigger striker?
I left the fight impressed with his skill set, power and resolve but now there is no doubt he is capable of being defeated. Brett Rogers seemed a bit rattled but may have exposed some of Emelianenko’s weaknesses. Rogers landed straight, stiff jabs, like the one which cut the nose of Emelianenko, all night. Fedor comes at you in bursts and lands quick, looping punches. A good boxer can beat him to the shot with a good, straight punch, much like Rogers’ first strike. In geometry, you learn the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If you can be disciplined and throw straight punches, it may also be the shortest distance between victory and defeat.
Fedor is not physically imposing and Brett Rogers seemed to be able to get up off his back at will. Emilianenko’s jiu-jitsu and submission skills may be offset by a good wrestler may be able to control where the fight goes and impose his will on Fedor. Even with his outstanding, multifaceted game, a fighter who is controlling the cage will feel more comfortable and confident than the one continually making adjustments. Wrestlers who are able control the action dominate the MMA landscape and a great wrestler with size would give Fedor fits.
It ‘s sad to realize Fedor is wasting time with inferior talent and an inferior promotion. We could have seen Fedor/Lesnar or Fedor/Couture headline a dream fight card, instead we saw Fedor fight an average heavyweight, again. A move to UFC would have put all debate to an end and likely the end of The Last Emperor.
Photos courtesy of Sherdog.