When life hands you leg kicks, make MMAde
We always knew this day would come. Or at least we knew that it was theoretically possible. Fedor Emelianenko finally lost one.
“The Last Emperor” met Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Fabricio Werdum at Strikeforce in San Jose on Saturday in what was supposed to be a perfunctory win before challenging Alistair Overeem for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship.
Fedor stunned Werdum with a combination early in the first round before following him to the ground, jumping into his guard, and recklessly attempting to rain down shots to get the finish.
The Brazilian caught Emelianenko in a deep triangle choke/armbar and submitted the legend in 1:09 of round 1, becoming the first man to legitimately defeat Fedor.
Did Fedor simply make a mistake and get caught in a submission by a veritable BJJ expert, or has his age and the absolute wars he’s been in finally caught up to the Russian. Has the reign of “The Last Emperor” finally come to an end?
Dana White no doubt believes it has. The UFC President more than likely creamed his jeans on Saturday night when Werdum, a fighter he cut from his roster, was able to defeat the man that fans and insiders have, for years now, been claiming would defeat any of the reigning UFC heavyweight champions.
White has sworn that Fedor is irrelevant, past his prime, and grossly overrated. That remains to be seen, but for the first time White at least has some ground to stand on.
More importantly for Dana White, next weekend’s main event title fight at UFC 116 between current Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and current Interim Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin now has even more serious implications.
This was already the greatest heavyweight fight in UFC history, but now Fedor has been proven to be a mere mortal and has actually been defeated. The position of “Baddest Man on the Planet” is now officially vacant.
At UFC 116, it will be filled by one of two unstoppable monsters in Lesnar or Carwin. The winner of their epic battle, almost one year in the making, will not only become the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion, but will also be able to claim the title of best in the world.
It might be too soon to say Fedor is done, but he certainly has lost a step. While Werdum’s BJJ is world class, he’s not on the same level as Minotauro Nogueira in his prime, who lost twice to Fedor, never able to submit the Russian.
In Fedor’s previous fight against Brett Rogers, he looked shaky and took his fair share of punishment before leveling his opponent with a knockout punch. Rogers appeared to be a powerhouse who would have destroyed anybody other than the great Fedor.
In Rogers’s next fight, he looked like a clueless newcomer with little actual fighting ability and was thoroughly manhandled by Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem.
Years of fight damage takes its toll on the human body and nobody is getting any younger.
It has been a tough year for many of the other legends of Pride FC; Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, and the aforementioned Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, to name a few. It only seems logical that the king of PRIDE's Heavyweight division would follow suit.
Fedor’s loss is actually great news for Strikeforce. The promotion has him under contract for one more fight, which would have undoubtedly been for Overeem’s Heavyweight Title.
If Fedor won, which he was expected to do, Strikeforce would have been faced with what seems to be a recurring problem for the organization: one of its titleholders leaving the promotion.
Now Strikeforce has an easy answer for what to do with Fedor’s remaining fight: a rematch with Fabricio Werdum.
Werdum wants the fight to prove his victory wasn’t a fluke, Fedor wants the fight to avenge his only loss, and Overeem probably won’t mind sitting this one out since he only fights in Strikeforce once every two years.
Actually, Overeem looked to be the most upset about Fedor’s loss on Saturday. There was something in his expression after the fight: restlessness, maybe even desolation.
Fedor was supposed to beat Werdum. Overeem was supposed to face “The Last Emperor” and his legendary undefeated record.
It was clear what Alistair Overeem was thinking: “It should have been me.”