Opinion: Fedor Emelianenko wins, but it should have been a draw! Fedor Emelianenko vs Fabio Maldonado Full Fight video EFN 50
Opinion: Fedor Emelianenko wins, but it should have been a draw!
Fedor Emelianenko vs Fabio Maldonado Full Fight video EFN 50
Fedor Emelianenko (35-5), the fighter widely considered to the greatest heavyweight mixed martial artist of all time in his prime (Pride Heavyweight Champ 2003-2007) was back in the cage on Friday night in St. Petereburg, Russia, his opponent the former UFC veteran Fabio Maldonado.
“The Old Fedor”
Despite being a somewhat under-sized heavyweight throughout his career, Fedor had an aura of invincibility back in the mid 00’s and picked up big wins over the likes of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, “Big Nog” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria (twice), Mark Hunt, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman and former UFC Heavyweight champs Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arloski in the now defunct MMA promotions Pride & Strikeforce.
Things started to unglue for “The Last Emperor” though around 2010 as he dropped 3 straight fights to future UFC Heavyweight Champ Fabrico Werdum via submission to a triangle armbar and two devastating knock-outs to Antio “Bigfoot” Silva and Dan Henderson who despite being a extremely dangerous puncher was really a middleweight. This smashed the aura of invincibility perhaps forever.
Fedor followed those losses up with 3 low-key victories in Russia and Japan before retiring from the sport in the cage after a victory over Pedro Rizzo in June of 2012.
Returning to MMA after a 3 and a half year absence, many think Fedor is now way past his prime at 39 years of age. His 1st round TKO victory over Indian kickboxing champ Jaideep Sing in December of 2015 in Japan, did nothing to shed any light of whether we will ever see the Fedor of old again. Singh (2-0 prior to the fight) was never going to be competitive and was little more than a can, a tune-up for tougher fights to come.
The match-up with Fabio Maldonado in his 2nd return fight in the Eurasia Fight Nights 50 headliner it was hoped would answer some of these questions. Maldonado is a tough if not limited fighter known for having some exciting fights.
Towards the end of his UFC career (5-7 in the UFC, 22-9 overall prior to the fight) Maldonado was a bit of a gatekeeper in that he’d usually go the distance with up-and-comers and faded former stars like Corey Anderson and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but would also usually be finished by the elite of the sport like Glover Teixeria and Stipe Miocic.
So this was always going to be a tough test for Fedor. The Emelianenko of old would have almost definitely have TKO’d Maldonado so this was an interesting fight to see just where Fedor is at this point of his comeback.
The fight was an exciting one. Maldonado rocked Fedor in the 1st round with some heavy punches and was on several occasions seemingly moments away from stopping the MMA great in what was surely a 10-8 round for Fabio. To his credit though, the old warrior in Fedor gritted it out and in my opinion won the 2nd and 3rd rounds 10-9.
Controversial decision awarded to Fedor Emelianenko
The result in my opinion should have been a draw.
But as if often the case in combat sports, controversy often sparks when judges are involved.
All 3 judges scoring the contest represented the Russian MMA federation, surely a conflict of interest!
The scores where in and Fedor was given the decision win. The Russian judges obviously opting to score the first round 10-9 to Fabio despite Emelianenko nearly being finished in that round.
What is certain after this fight in which Fedor struggled to overcome a journeyman former UFC veteran, is that the old Fedor is gone. Long live the Last Emperor.
The future can still be positive for Fedor if he signs for the UFC
However, that is not to say that there isn’t plenty of options and fun fights left for Fedor is this new MMA landscape.
I would absolutely love to see him finally sign for the UFC, and his fights there would be big business no doubt.
He would probably not fare well against the likes of Cain Valasquez, Alistair Overeem or Junior Dos Santos but fun fights against the likes of Brock Lesnar, Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson would be “pick-em” but winnable fights and still generate a huge buzz and big money PPV bouts if he finally signs for the UFC.
A Fedor Emelianeko vs Brock Lesnar fight, if Lesnar can get by Mark Hunt at UFC 200 would do tremendous business.
So what do you think? Did Fedor deserve the victory against Fabio Maldonado and how would he do in the UFC?
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