Fedor Emelianenko lost his second fight in a row in Strikeforce. After being battered and bloodied in the second round by Antonio Silva, the referee stopped the fight due to Fedor’s bad eye. Emelianenko’s eye was shut which ended the fight and his road to redemption in the Grand Prix tournament.
The story here was the weight disadvantage of Fedor. Silva had a near 40 pound advantage in the fight and used it to dominate Fedor in the second round and avoid a first round loss. Silva took Fedor down early in the second round, mounted him and proceeded to lay a vicious assault of ground and pound on the tournament favorite. Fedor wasn’t able to find an advantageous position until the remaining 10 seconds of the round which looked like he was going to pull off a remarkable leg lock submission. Instead the bell rang, Fedor went to the corner unable to open his eye, and the referee stopped the fight and awarded the win to Antonio Silva via TKO.
Fedor looked great early on in the fight. Fedor came out swinging while Silva looked scared at times to engage. Silva started countering and nailed Fedor with a beautiful jab which backed up the Last Emperor. It appeared to me that it was at this moment that Silva started to gain confidence and get aggressive. Fedor continued to swing for the fences yet at the same time leave himself wide open for counters. I thought Fedor won the first round but it certainly could have went to Silva.
Round 2 was a different story and one of the most dramatic rounds I have seen since Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen. Silva dominated Fedor and was just beating him ferociously with strikes. In my opinion, if it wasn’t Fedor the fight would have been stopped as he looked defenseless at one point with Silva just dropping strikes from the mount. Silva clamped on an arm-head choke at one point and it looked like it was over. Somehow Fedor escaped and the crowd went crazy. To me, it looked like Silva had punched himself out at this point. Silva just sat on top of Fedor for the remainder of the round, went for a kneebar, but was reversed. As the round ended I was fairly confident that Silva had blown himself up and Round 3 was going to be a much different story. Unfortunately there was no Round 3.
It was a real shame as this fight was turning into a classic. Fedor was dominated and on the brink of submission several times yet ended the round in a somewhat dominant position and looked ready for war. Knowing he needed a knockout to win, I think it would have been an electrifying third round and the conclusion of a classic either way. Yet make no mistake, it should have been stopped as Fedor’s eye was closed shut.
Antonio Silva will proceed into the semi-finals of the Grand Prix heavyweight tournament and face the winner of Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum. The elimination of Fedor really hurts the tournament to casual fans and hardcore fans that were chomping at the bit for Overeem vs. Fedor or Fedor vs. Barnett. With Fedor and Arlovski out, two of the biggest stars of the tournament are eliminated. I think it is fair to say that at this point this is Alistair Overeem’s tournament to win.
The future of Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce or MMA has to be a huge question. After the fight Fedor said, “Maybe it’s the last time,” Emelianenko said. “Maybe it’s high time. I thank God for everything. I’ve spent a great, beautiful, long sport life.”
With two losses in a row, even the biggest Fedor fans have to wonder if the fire will be there for redemption. A Fedor vs. Silva rematch is an obvious fight under these circumstances. However, with Silva in the tournament that fight would be unavailable until the end of the year at the earliest. The Strikeforce announcers talked about a move to light heavyweight but I don’t see it. He has been fighting at heavyweight for too long to come down at this stage in his career and I think the speed of the light heavyweights would work against him.
You also have to wonder what the value of Fedor is to Strikeforce at this point. There are no money matches available for him with Overeem, Rodgers, Werdum, and Barnett tied up in the tournament. At earliest, Fedor’s next fight probably wouldn’t come until the end of the year. Is Fedor as valuable to Strikeforce at his current salary with two losses in a row? How loyal are Strikeforce to Fedor after all of the games Fedor and M1 Global have played with his contract during their partnership?
Get ready for an exciting Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix featuring Big Foot Silva and Sergei Kharitonov. The fate of this tournament literally rests on the shoulders of Alistair Overeem. If he goes, it’s over.
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