Fallen Fedor Emelianenko: What's Next for the Last Emperor?

Ken BeckettCorrespondent IJune 27, 2010

Those who attended and watched Saturday's Strikeforce event were witness to history.

When Fabricio Werdum submitted Fedor Emelianenko at 1:09 of the first round with a triangle arm bar, it was the first time Fedor had suffered a loss in almost ten years.

To find the last loss on Fedor's record, you have to go all the way back to December 22, 2000 at the King of Kings Tournament in Osaka, Japan. In a fight with Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Fedor suffered a cut from an elbow strike and the fight was stopped.

29 fights later, Fedor was on top of the world coming into the Hp Pavillion in San Jose. Ready to take on Fabricio Werdum and then go on to fight Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem in a few months.

It looked like that was exactly how it would play out too. 30 seconds into the fight, Fedor unleashed a flurry on punches that sent Werdum reeling to the canvas. 

Fedor went in for the kill, but while standing over Werdum and trying to knock him out, Werdum caught Fedor's arm and proceeded to apply at first an arm bar which then turned into a triangle arm bar.

Emelianenko fought all he could to get out of the hold, but Werdum, a BJJ specialist, proved to be too much for the Russian and Fedor was forced to tap for the first time in his career.

The MMA world has been rocked by this loss. Even the most experienced analyst in the industry is surprised that the heavily favored Fedor lost. It was certainly not deemed impossible for Werdum to win. But it's not everyday that a 10-year winning streak comes to an end.

The question now becomes what's next for Fedor and everyone involved in Strikeforce and their heavyweight division.

Following the fight, Fabricio Werdum was asked about moving on to face heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem. Werdum surprised most everybody with his answer, saying that he would rather have a re-match with Fedor, claiming "Fedor is the best in the world."

Usually it's the loser of a fight requesting a re-match. Not the winner.

Despite Werdum's wishes, it seems unlikely that Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will give into his demands and schedule a re-match. It had been determined for quite some time that the winner of Saturday's fight would go on to challenge Overeem for the heavyweight title.

As noted in his post-fight interview, Fedor has one more fight left on his Strikeforce contract. MMA fans and analysts now begin the debate of who Fedor should take on in what could very well be his last fight for Strikeforce.

There a few different options for who Fedor could fight next in Strikeforce's heavyweight division.

Antonio Silva sports an impressive 14-2 record and is coming off a victory over veteran Andrei Arlovski in May. While other possible opponents could include Shane Del Rosario or one of Strikeforce's other big heavyweight attractions, Bobby Lashley.

Regardless of who Fedor Emelianenko fights next, the landscape of heavyweight fighters in MMA has changed.

The debate will intensify and rankings will perhaps change as fans wait to see how MMA's other top heavyweight, Brock Lesnar, does in his fight against Shane Carwin at UFC 117 on July 3rd.

After looking human in his fight against Brett Rogers, and suffering his first loss in almost ten years to Fabricio Werdum Saturday night, if Fedor wants to get back on top of the heavyweight world, he will undoubtedly need to come back with a win in his next fight, no matter who it is he is put up against.

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