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.
This Saturday night, “the pound for pound best fighter in the world” Fedor Emelianenko (30-1, 1 no contest) will make his US national television debut as Strikeforce/M-1 Global presents: Fedor vs. Rogers on CBS. Fedor Emelianenko is the consensus top heavyweight fighter in the world and is set to face Brett Rogers, an undefeated up-and-coming star. They are both coming off crushing knockouts of former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Andrei Arlovski. Brett Rogers will likely want to stand and throw bombs with the Russian champ and the Sambo master will likely be happy to oblige. Rogers has one punch knockout power but the difference will be Fedor’s unmatched all-around skill. Fedor can stand and trade or use his judo/sambo mastery to put Rogers on his back, where he has excellent submissions. If Emelianenko decides to take Rogers to the ground, Rogers will also have to ward off a ground and pound expert. Rogers has never had to fight off the ground and it may be interesting to see if his size will present some issues for the champ. While Rogers will be looking for one big shot, Emelianenko should be able to put his full arsenal to use to defeat the much larger challenger. Barring a shocker larger than Kimbo Slice’s epic loss, Fedor should walk out the champ.
However, can he still be considered the best in the world? Emelianenko has won 26 straight fights in a 9 year period but has not faced the steady diet of top tier competition one would expect from the best. The former Pride World Heavyweight Champion last fought with Affliction and fought Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, two former UFC Heavyweight Champions. He submitted Sylvia in under a minute and survived a match up with Arlovski, who landed punches and kicks at will. As Fedor backed into the ropes, seemingly in trouble, Arlovski went in for a flying knee. Instead he ate an overhand right punch to the jaw, which sent Arlovski falling into the fetal position in midair at 3:14 in the first round. After the now defunct Affliction promotion went under, many insiders believed Fedor would undoubtedly appear in the “Octagon” but it was not to be. In a decision that left the MMA world in disbelief, Fedor decided to join the Strikeforce lineup, signing a 3-fight contract. The move would immediately beef up its thin heavyweight division and bring added credibility to Strikeforce. His decision left the world wondering whether he will ever sign with the UFC. The burning question: How can a man, considered to be the best in the world, fight inferior competition, still be considered the best in the world? College football teams beating up on smaller conference teams will not get the same respect another team that plays the best every week will. The same should hold true for MMA. If you want to be considered the best, you should have to beat the best.
FEDOR “THE LAST EMPEROR” EMELIANENKO (30-1) VS
BRETT “THE GRIM” ROGERS (10-0)
JASON “MAYHEM” MILLER (29-6) VS
JAKE SHIELDS (28-4)
GEGARD “THE DREAMCATCHER” MOUSASI (29-2) VS
RAMEAU THIERRY “THE AFRICAN ASSASIN” SOKODJOU
FABRICIO “VAI CAVALO” WERDUM (12-4-1) VS
ANTONIO “BIGFOOT” SILVA (13-1)
MARLOES COENEN (16-3) VS
ROXANNE MODAFERRI (13-4)
MARK MILLER (9-5) VS
DERAY DAVIS (5-1)
JEFF CURRAN (31-12) VS
SAM THAO (5-1)
JOHN KOLOSCI (10-5) VS
SHAMAR BAILEY (9-1)
LOUIS TAYLOR (4-0) VS
NATE MOORE (5-1)
CHRISTIAN UFLACKER (1-0) VS
JONATAS NOVAES (4-2)
NOVEMBER 7, 2009 – 8:00PM/CT (PRELIMS AT 6:00PM)
LIVE ON CBS!