Fantasy MMA Matchup: Breaking Down Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko
Here it is, my friends.
Well, in these slides anyway.
Just two short years ago, this was a matchup that had MMA fans drooling puddles of anticipation and would have decided the undisputed king of the heavyweight division.
Since that time, each fighter has fallen off the map a bit (Lesnar due to consecutive whippings and retirement; Fedor due to three consecutive beatings in a rough span that began in 2010), but it is fair to say that television sets across the world would still eagerly tune in to see these two legends square off in the Octagon (or ring, if Fedor gets his way).
For those of us still clinging to the notion that this bout remains a future possibility, start the slideshow to see how this fight would shake out.
At one point in his career, Brock Lesnar had me fooled.
When he sent Heath Herring stumbling across the Octagon from a huge right hand and dropped heavyweight legend Randy Couture with a similar strike, I thought, "Maybe he's getting the hang of this stand-up thing."
In bouts against Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem, Lesnar was absolutely dominated on his feet and proved that his striking is still well below average.
Emelianenko, on the other hand, is a quick and powerful striker who has knocked out nine opponents in his career, including the likes of Andrei Arlovski and Brett Rogers.
Adding to this, Fedor has been stopped from strikes just three times in his 38-fight professional career.
Lesnar, on the other hand, has been stopped twice in just eight bouts.
There is no doubt about this one; Fedor reigns supreme on the feet.
Just as there was no doubt about who would emerge victorious in a striking match between Lesnar and Emelianenko, the dominant wrestler in this fight is obvious:
Lesnar is superior.
With a well-documented collegiate career and some of the most powerful double-leg shots in MMA, it is almost impossible to prevent Lesnar from taking you down if he decides he wants to.
Against Fedor, he would certainly want to.
Although Fedor is no slouch in the wrestling department thanks to a strong Sambo background, he still isn't on the level of Lesnar when it comes to this aspect.
This is where the fight would get interesting.
Lesnar would almost certainly get the fight to the mat and, once there, he'd look to unleash some of his ferocious ground-and-pound.
Fedor has shown weaknesses against big, strong grapplers in the recent past, and he dropped a bout to Antonio Silva due to his inability to shake "Bigfoot" from a dominant position.
Silva landed strike after strike on Emelianenko until the fight was stopped, and a rare loss was added to the "Last Emperor's" record.
Could Lesnar do the same?
I think so.
Once Lesnar establishes top position, he is incredibly difficult to handle, and I think Fedor would have even more problems with Brock here than he did with "Bigfoot" Silva.
Even though Brock is a powerful wrestler and almost always ends up in a dominant position on the ground in his fights, he rarely looks for the submission.
We saw a flash of an improving submission game in his bout against Shane Carwin, but since then it has been nonexistent.
Fedor, on the other hand, has an impressive plate of submission victories that cannot be denied.
With 16 of his 33 wins coming via submission, it is evident that Fedor has the tools to end a fight with his savvy arsenal of submissions.
That said, Lesnar held down Frank Mir, arguably the best heavyweight grappler in the world, at UFC 100 without ever being in serious danger.
It's a close one because of the great defense on Lesnar's part, but I still think in pure submission prowess, Fedor gets the edge.
Here is one thing I know: Never, and I mean never, question a Russian's training regimen.
Russian fighters seem to always be in shape and prepared, and Fedor is no exception to this.
Although he doesn't have the lean, ripped physique of some other heavyweights, Fedor is exceptionally strong and has remarkable cardio.
Adding to this, Fedor has consistently imposed his will upon opponents with cleverly-thought game plans over the span of his 38-fight, 12-year career.
Lesnar simply can't touch these credentials.
While Brock has faced a high level of competition in his short career as a mixed martial artist, he lacks the sheer volume of fights to be considered for an experience edge.
Along with this, Lesnar's game-planning is sometimes questionable.
In his most recent loss to Alistair Overeem, Lesnar failed to attempt a single takedown, and this proved to be a recipe for disaster.
Both Lesnar and Emelianenko are true professionals who always show up on fight night in shape and prepared to fight.
Where conditioning is concerned, these fighters are relatively equal thanks to this commitment to the sport and their incredible work ethic.
Despite this, it is impossible to deny Lesnar's edge athletically.
He is an absolute freak at heavyweight and possesses a blend of size and speed that isn't even human.
The dude is fast. The dude is big. The dude is strong.
The dude is scary.
The heavyweight fight of the century, as it would have been two years ago, would be disappointingly one-sided, I'm afraid.
Fedor Emelianenko has a decided advantage in the stand-up game, and his conditioning and quickness are top-notch for a heavyweight.
But he still wouldn't beat Brock.
Lesnar is too powerful, too big and too dominant on the mat for Fedor to emerge victorious in this bout.
Whenever somebody's best chance in a fight is to "land a knockout punch," it's usually a good idea to pick the other guy (see a list of GSP's recent fights for proof). For that reason, you have to take Lesnar in this one, folks.
He would land a takedown early and begin battering Fedor with strikes from full guard.
From there, Lesnar would eventually pass into side control, where he can land more powerful shots to the face of his opponent.
With lunchbox fists raining down punishment, Fedor turtles up in a last chance effort to defend himself, but Lesnar finds a crack in his defense and delivers the crushing knockout blow.
Winner: Brock Lesnar via KO (ground-and-pound) in the very first round