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Emelianenko out-lasted Mirko Cro Cop to secure one of the biggest victories of his career.
You know those bouts you really want to see, but they never seem to come together? Back in 2004, this was that fight.
Cro Cop was already a fan favorite when he entered the MMA world courtesy of his K-1 experience.
When he started off his MMA career at 7-0-2, a title fight with Fedor Emelianenko seemed like an inevitability.
Then, Fedor left Pride due to a contract dispute, which resulted in the interim title match between Cro Cop and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira from a few slides ago.
Cro Cop wouldn't take "no" for an answer though and proceeded to rattle off fight after fight to amass a solid winning streak.
Meanwhile Emelianenko would rejoin Pride, unify the belt and finally agree to face Cro Cop.
The match did not disappoint.
The two would spend a good bit of the first round feeling each other out.
Eventually, though, Cro Cop landed two hard punches that opened up Emelianenko, causing him to bleed profusely from his nose. Cro Cop slipped while trying to clinch, and Emelianenko ended up in top position, where he would remain until the end of the round.
The second round was no-nonsense striking. The two fighters swapped head kicks and big punches until Cro Cop started to gas. As Cro Cop got slower, Emelianenko started finding his range and again landed a big takedown, where he maintained top position until the bell.
The third round was more of the same as Cro Cop's hands sunk lower and lower and his kicks got slower and slower. Emelianenko used his superior ground game to control Cro Cop.
Emelianenko would earn the decision.
With two wins over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and victories over Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman, Heath Herring and Renato Sobral, Emelianenko had emptied out the entire Pride heavyweight division.