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Two of the world’s most feared men finally tangled at PRIDE Final Conflict 2005, two years after Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic publicly challenged longtime heavyweight kingpin Fedor Emelianenko.
Both fighters entered the bout in their primes, with Emelianenko essentially bringing an undefeated record to the match and Cro Cop riding a seven-fight winning streak.
Filipovic's challenge to Emelianenko, coupled with the Croatian’s brutal head-kick knockout of his younger brother, Alexander Emelianenko, made the fight a downright tantalizing affair.
Unlike many of the overhyped title fights in MMA history, Emelianenko-Cro Cop more than lived up to its billing.
Although Cro Cop broke Emelianenko’s nose in the first round with a stinging jab, the Russian regained his footing, nailing takedowns and scoring with ground-and-pound in the final two rounds to nab a unanimous decision in a memorable seesaw war.
Not surprisingly, Sports Illustrated honored the MMA pioneers for their efforts by naming the bout the "Fight of the Decade" for the 2000s.