The end for Brett Rogers (10-1) came suddenly when Fedor “The Last” Emperor” Emelianenko (31-1) unleashed a right cross straight to his chin. Rogers went down in a crumbling heap with Fedor piling on. Referee Big John McCarthy jumped in to stop the fight. TKO! The time? 1.48 of a second round of the Strikeforce-M1 Global fight at Sears Centre on the outskirts of Chicago, IL. But the realization that this could have gone either way was not lost on the MMA crowd. According the the announcer, Brett Rogers was the first man to see the second round against Fedor since 2006.
The Youtube video has been pulled by CBS. You can try the the slightly blurry one at http://www.blitzcorner.com here:
News Flash: The Emperor lives and so does his legend!; but he really shouldn’t be engaging in these stunt fights at home, even when his last name is Emelianenko. Not at this point anyway. Reason? The combined weight/size difference (with the emphasis on combined) proved consequential throughout the first and parts of the second round. Fedor, who got tagged and manhandled inspite of stalking Rogers, was bleeding visibly by the end of the first round from Rogers’ left jab versus Fedor’s looping right. One can easily dismiss size when weight is kept constant but not when the weight/size combination tips critical mass. The evidence was all over the ground battles and cage clinches. Rogers leaned on Fedor rope-a-dope style in close clinches and Fedor could hardly contain Rogers. It was a bit like the bouncer(Brett Rogers) trying to smother a pugnacious patron. Fedor’s attempts at slapping a triangle choke hold on Big Ol’ Brett was bemusedly quaint.
Throughout the fight, Fedor was the stalker and Rogers the stalkee. Perhaps the weight of “The Last Emperor’s” legend proved too much for the relative upstart. “I doubted myself,” Roger’s said later in his post fight interview. “I should have threw my hands a lot more. That’s the only reason I failed today.” A rematch is a possibility, but Fedor is likely to go for a title fight against current heavyweight holder, Alistair Overeem.
True, Fedor has made a career of beating men much bigger than him, but it’s gonna prove his undoing as he gets closer to the flame of Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin’s mettle. So our advice stands.
Fedor Emelianenko’s 232 vs Brett Rogers’ 264 (32lb weight difference.)
Brock Lesnar, 265 vs Randy Couture, 220 (45lb weight difference, UFC 91.)
Lesnar 265 vs Mir 240, (25lb difference, UFC 100.)
The incongruity of being Fedor: The Last Emperor won, but he looked mortal. Dana White kind of lost a little skin off his nose tonight, but not by much. His argument still stands because while Fedor would beat the snot out of most in the UFC heavyweight division, he would lose against Lesnar around the time the Brock beat the snot out of mouthy Frank Mir. Why? The weight and mass thingy. Why? Because Lesnar is different from all the other blobs Fedor has overwhelmed in his glory days. Sure he would have a grappler’s chance of submitting The Brock …. the same that Frank Mir had in UFC 81. But that is a pretty thin sliver to build a dream on.
But having said all that, the above argument does not, in and of itself, discredit the contention that Fedor remains one of the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. Period. See the weight thingy again?
Of icy sangfroid & paunchy, old-world machismo: What is most intriguing about Fedor’s ascendance is his low-key, balding and almost paunchy, old-world machismo. Contrast that with the chiseled and pumped up displays of what passes for MMA machismo in the UFC, and you have a contrast most beguiling. Fedor chalks one up for the pudgy and balding barflies who could flatten your ass at the local watering hole should you have the temerity to disrespect the ol’ missus. He trains in jungle gyms and looks uncomfortable in a suit and tie. The anti-thesis of roid-inflected athleticism, Fedor hacks back to a proto idea of urban legends and sweaty manos in fatigues who could knock out bullies with a single punch.
Reflections on Fedor, UFC and the legacy of the Last Emperor:
Whatever happens from here onwards does not matter very much. The legacy of the number one ranked fighter in the world is safe behind a vault of collective memory. All it could use, perhaps, is a little burnishing by way of choosing one’s battles. At 33 years and counting, Fedor is not a spring chicken anymore. Not by MMA standards. He probably has a couple of good years left in him before the younger whipper-snappers start nipping at his heels. He really needs to choose carefully who he fights from henceforth. The world that made him (read that MMA) needs him more than he needs it, because he has arrived.
Note the jungle gym training at the beginning, the trademark David vs Goliath match-ups and the McDonald supplex that should have killed or paralyzed Fedor. Either Fedor is Superman or one lucky mofo. Oi vei!
UFC & the center of the MMA universe: UFC with its crass posturing and braggadocious loudmouths should be last on his list. Fedor should not allow himself to be thrown into some freak show of the order of Randy Couture vs Brock Lesnar with a 45+lbs weight differential. There really is nothing to prove there. (Given his superior skill set, Couture would have flattened Lesnar’s WWE ass had he come in at a fit 265lbs. You know, the pound for pound thingie?)
One day, not too far from hence, when the sports mavens find the center of the MMA universe, UFC will be surprised to find they are not the only ones in there …. Not with the chintzy P.R., lack-luster bouts and questionable business decisions. (Ref: Randy Couture/Quinton Jackson gripes.) Fedor’s choices have been right from day one. And the noises coming from the UFC are nothing sour-pussy grapes. The UFC needs Fedor more than a street pimp needs a “ho”. “Nyet” in all adverse circumstances has always … and will always be the right response.
Long live “The Last Emperor”, and the sport that gave fame to his name.
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