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.
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.
This Saturday November the 7th the new partnership between Strikeforce and CBS makes its debut with Fedor vs Rogers. CBS used to be partnered with EliteXC with Kimbo Slice as the main headline but now they have the real thing in Fedor. If you’re reading this to see if you should take your buddy’s bet on this fight and you get Fedor, TAKE THE BET. Fedor is arguably an undefeated fighter in his 9 years in Mixed Martial Arts and has knocked out and tapped out the best of the best multiple times over. Fedor cannot be over hyped because anything you say about him from tapping out Polar Bears in Siberia or being a KGB Special Forces soldier here to scare the world into submission, could be true. Besides Brock Lesner and maybe a younger Cain Velasquez I cannot seriously give anybody a chance in a fight with Fedor. So if you have to give your buddy 2 to 1 or even 4 to 1 odds TAKE THE BET!
Brett Rogers is no joke, he might even be able to beat a lot of the UFC’s Heavyweights, but he has only fought one UFC level fighter and that is Andrei Arlovski. Brett beat him by KO and no one can take that away from him. Andrei is an ex-UFC Champion and Brett knocked him out in 22 seconds. That is where Brett’s record begins and ends though, all of the rest of his competition would be happy to make it on the Ultimate Fighter. What you can take from Brett’s past fights are how quick he is and how devastating his punch combination’s are. One thing that has not been tested in recent fights is Brett’s ground game and his chin, but that is because all but one of his opponents did not get past the first round. Another thing about Rogers is that he did spend some time with Josh Barnett, who was supposed to be Fedor’s last opponent and has a very strong ground game. I do not think Rogers will go at this fight like Barnett would but some pointers from a veteran are always helpful. This was a positive sign from Rogers because he has been with his current fight camp all of his career. It is nice that he is loyal and he might be comfortable with them but he is fighting the best Heavyweight in the world and should be training as such in order to be the best Brett Rogers walking into the cage on Saturday. If Brett was fighting any other fighter besides Fedor then I would give him a chance. Fedor has proved time and time again through technique under pressure and confidence in his own skill that he will not be defeated by another human being. Only an experienced Brock Lesner could have the strength and talent to possibly control Fedor.
Fedor is not like many champions, out to prove that he is the best or that he can exchange blows with anybody. Fedor stills fights in Combat Sambo Tournaments in Russia, for fun I guess. Fedor has fought Worldclass kickboxers with knockout power, strong wrestlers that could takedown anybody and submission artists that seemed unstoppable and even people twice the size of him. Fedor has always found a way to win and in most instances found a way to finish them. Fedor is always calm before, during and after his fights and it makes it possible for him to take hard punches, wrestling slams and submission attempts and remember how to use everything to his advantage and win the fight. Nothing could display this better than when Kevin Randleman picked him up in the air and dropped him on his neck, watch it on YouTube and you will start to understand what Fedor is capable of. This fight is no different and he is facing a less experienced, more one-sided fighter than most of his fights in the past. Fedor will do what he’s done to all the others, he will come in, land a few strikes to daze Brett and then do a backward Russia Bear hug and choke Brett out.
One interesting fact about this fight that makes it especially interesting is that this is Fedor’s first fight in a cage instead of a ring. 31 fights over 9 years and 5 fight organizations and Fedor has never fought in a cage. The only way this will hurt his game is that he has used the ring ropes to his advantage in a few fights. The fight where this made the most difference was when he fought Matt Lindland in Bodog Fight and he slid the rope into his armpit and not only prevented Lindland from taking him down but reversed the situation and ended up taking Lindland down. For the fight with Rogers I do not see it being an issue, I do not think Rogers will try and take Fedor down. If that is true, cages are a decent amount bigger than rings and have no corners like in a boxing ring and Fedor could use it to slip away if Rogers rocks him with big punches or Fedor can use it to feel Rogers out early in order to figure out Rogers’ punching range and quickness.
In this day and age when the hype is built up just to get you to visit the local bar to buy an overpriced drink, Fedor still cannot be hyped enough because he truly is the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion or the World.