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Strikeforce: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers Preview

Strikeforce and CBS will present Fedor Emelianenko to the country this Saturday night. Fedor will fight his first fight in a three-fight deal with Strikeforce. Fedor will fight relative unknown, Brett Rogers in what is being billed as the main-event. Rogers has the unenviable task of trying to survive against arguably the greatest MMA fighter of the 21st century.

To me, this fight is nothing but a huge farce. I think it is laughable that Strikeforce thinks any MMA fan with a brain would take Rogers as a serious threat to Fedor. Brett does boast an impressive record by the numbers, going 10-0 with nine knockouts. However, there is nothing impressive about the record once you take a look at Rogers’ opponents. Rogers’ biggest claim to fame was an awesome first-round knockout over former UFC champion, Andrei Arlovski. Other than the Arlovski fight, there isn’t much on Rogers’ record to get excited about.

Rogers has been turned into main-event fighter in Strikeforce by necessity. Dana White proclaimed the company, Strikefarce due to this kind of match-making. I agree with him. Arlovski hasn’t exactly been stellar the last couple of years. A knockout win over Arlovski is impressive for someone of Rogers’ inexperience, but that doesn’t make me believe he can hang with anyone like Fedor. This is truly a showcase fight for Fedor and nothing more in my opinion.

Something interesting to note about this fight is the betting line as of this writing. The line on the fight from BetUs.com is Fedor as a -550 favorite with Rogers as a +375 underdog. That is interesting to me, because Fedor was a -800 favorite against Marc Coleman two years ago. On paper, I would expect that Marc Coleman would have a better shot of beating Fedor in 2006 yet Rogers is getting a little more respect from Vegas. I am truly surprised that the betting line isn’t -1,000 or more for Fedor.

As for Fedor Emelianenko, the next three fights may be the biggest fights of his career. Fedor passed up a reported $30 million deal to sign with UFC for a three-fight Strikeforce deal. Anyone that follows MMA knows that Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar is the biggest money match not on the table right now. Until Fedor signs with the UFC, it isn’t going to happen. UFC president Dana White said that the offer to Fedor will still be available once his Strikeforce deal expires with one catch. White said he will pull the offer immediately if Fedor loses a fight. Theoretically, the financial future of Fedor and prosperity of a Brock Lesnar showdown starts this Saturday against Brett Rogers.

I don’t think there is a chance in the world that Fedor loses. Rogers does have incredible punching power, but he doesn’t have the ground game to hang with Fedor. To me, too much is being made of the shots Arlovski nailed Fedor with back in their January fight. Strikeforce likes to cite that moment to remind people that Fedor is beatable. The bottom line is that Fedor shook it off and put Arlovski on his butt for a knockout of his own and the win. Fedor is beatable, but Brett Rogers is not going to be the guy to beat Fedor.

If Rogers does the unthinkable, Fedor’s reputation in MMA will take a huge hit. He has been vastly criticized for passing up the UFC deal for Strikeforce. A lot of fighters and writers feel that Fedor went to Strikeforce to avoid the more competitive UFC. To bolster UFC’s argument, UFC offered Fedor an immediate world title match in his first bout. Strikeforce’s champion hasn’t defended the title in two years. One would assume looking on the outside that Fedor is definitely taking an easier road by signing with Strikeforce. If Brett Rogers happens to pull off the unthinkable, all of Fedor’s critics will be proven right in that Fedor’s skills have declined and he isn’t the fighter he used to be.

My prediction is a first-round knockout. I have watched a ton of Fedor fights and I just don’t see a flaw in his game. The only flaw I see would be his size and the obvious mismatch in size that he would have to overcome against Brock Lesnar. Rogers is taller and has about 30-40 pounds on Fedor, but he doesn’t have the ground game to bully Fedor around like Lesnar could do. I think Fedor is out to prove a point Saturday and keep his $30 million UFC offer safe. Fedor saw what happened when Arlovski let his guard down and he won’t make the same mistake. My prediction is Fedor in a first-round knockout, and the Fedor-Lesnar talk starts once again.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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