Let me state one thing right off the top, I am a novice MMA fan. I just got into the sport a few years ago. Almost all of my exposure has been through the UFC programming on Spike. I’ve seen next to no Pride shows. I catch some of the Japan super cards on HDNet ever once in awhile, the shows where guys actually break each others arm and dislocate elbows because no one wants to tap.
I don’t know the history of every fighter and what their won/loss record is in every organization they have ever fought in. But I have two eyes, and an over active imagination. And after watching Fedor Emelianenko tap out to Fabricio Werdum on Saturday night in the main event of the Strikeforce show, I was initially shocked and amazed just like everyone else. But once I thought about it a little bit, I made a rather large and possibly insane leap to come to the conclusion that everything played out exactly as planned.
First let’s look at how the fight played out. As I watched the fight unfold, all 1:09 of it, it really reminded me of the first Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir fight. Lesnar dropped Mir and immediately rushed in for the kill. He rushed in so fast however, that he left himself wide open for a submission hold by Mir. At the time people chalked it up to Lesnar’s inexperience in the ring. In their second fight, Lesnar was more patient and didn’t allow Mir to trap him, along the way to completely dominating the fight. On Saturday night, Fedor made the exact same mistake Lesnar did, not once but twice. He dropped Werdum right away and rushed in for the kill. Werdum went right away for Fedor’s arm, and almost got it. Fedor managed to get his arm free and you would think that he would do something to adjust his position after coming so close to being caught. But what does “The Last Emperor”, the best pound for pound fighter in the world, the greatest fighter of his generation, do…nothing at all. He stays right there so Werdum can lock in a triangle choke. Like I said, I am a novice, but that was one of the deepest and tightest chokes I’ve ever seen by the way. How could Fedor, who has years of experience and a wealth of skills at his disposal, make such a rookie mistake? Maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t a mistake at all. Maybe it all went exactly the way he wanted it to.
Fedor had one more fight on his Strikeforce contract, and popular opinion had they fight against Alistair Overeem for the title. Immediately after the fight, Werdum said he wanted his next fight to be a rematch against Fedor, not a shot at Overeem. Why on earth would Werdum risk another Fedor fight, unless that was the plan all along? Instead of one more fight for Fedor he now has the rematch with Werdum, which I think he wins of course. Then he gets the title shot against Overeem, another win. Next comes the rubber match with Werdum, followed by a possible rematch with Overeem.
And low and behold, one more fight on an expiring contract has now turned into four mega fights with huge paydays. And all Fedor had to do was swallow his pride and allow himself to lose, just once.
Vince DeHoratus lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two kids. He has been a life long wrestling fan and he has passed that love onto his son. Though not quite yet “middle aged and crazy”, he is fast approaching it.
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