Fedor KO's Rizzo: Does He Deserve One Last Shot at the UFC?

Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterJune 21, 2012

Emelianenko Fedor, the Winner of the PRIDE Heavy Weight Title Match (Photo by Tomokazu Tazawa/Getty Images)
Tomokazu Tazawa/Getty Images

It was academic, really. 

From the moment the opening bell rang in St. Petersburg, Pedro Rizzo looked like a beaten man. And perhaps he was. He was, after all, facing an iconic national Russian hero, fighting in front of his own people and his president.

Rizzo was tentative, circling cautiously, ever wary of Fedor Emelianenko's power and his icy, unyielding stare. Emelianenko caught Rizzo with a power jab early, and you could see Rizzo's already-crumbling resolve break down even further.

From there, it was over. Emelianenko dropped Rizzo to the canvas with a thundering punch and followed it with several brutal strikes on the ground before referee Yuji Shimada called an end to the mauling.

Emelianenko celebrated as only he can: by calmly hugging his beautiful wife and young daughter while standing around as stoic as a statue. In other words, business as usual.

But what's next for Emelianenko? He gave no hints as to what his future holds in his post-fight interview. He said in the weeks leading up to the fight that this might be the end of his illustrious career.

I sure hope not. After his much-maligned run in Strikeforce, the legendary heavyweight has rattled off three consecutive wins. Sure, they've been over sub-par competition. Nobody will confuse Rizzo with a top-25 heavyweight at this point in his career, and the same can be said for his previous wins over Jeff Monson and Satoshi Ishii.

But Emelianenko, if he chooses to continue, is not done. Not as a fighter, and not as an entertainment draw.

I'd like to see him get a run in the UFC. It's one of the few things MMA fans around the world have wanted for years and never gotten. And there may be no way for Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and the shadowy figures that run M-1 Global to ever come to a deal.

If they can't, it's a shame. Because Fedor may not be able to compete with the absolute best the UFC has to offer, but why not give him the chance to find out?