The Fallout From Fedor Emelianenko’s Shocking Loss
What may be considered the biggest upset in mixed martial arts in the past decade took place on Saturday night as Fabricio Werdum defeated Fedor Emelianenko, long considered the best fighter in the world, in the main event of Strikeforce and M-1 Global‘s co-promoted event in San Jose, CA. Many expected the great Fedor to stomp yet another mudhole in the competition as Werdum’s only chance to win would be to suck “The Last Emporer” into his lauded ground game— and that is exactly what he did.
Sixty-nine seconds after the opening bell, Fedor was trapped in a vicious triangle choke and found himself tapping out for the first time in his 10-year career. It wasn’t so much the fact Fedor finally lost legitimately (his other loss was a stoppage back in 2000 due to a nasty cut). Rather, this concerns the man to whom he lost. Werdum is certainly no slouch as a fighter. But “Vai Cavalo” couldn’t make the grade as a UFC fighter and was released from the organization after suffering losses to Junior Dos Santos and Andrei Arlovski back in 2008. His other losses to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Sergei Kharitonov prior to his stint with the UFC showed Werdum was a good fighter, but certainly not on the level of Fedor.
But alas, Fedor saw his unbeatable luster choked out on Saturday night and the debate regarding the best fighter in the world no longer includes his name. In MMA, every fighter eventually loses and Emelianenko could bounce back in a major way. But how much does Fedor’s loss impact his immediate future and the future of the organization that paraded him around as their most significant signing ever?
The Fedor loss actually hurts Strikeforce more than it does Emelianenko. This marks the second time a big name in the UFC has tasted defeat. Dan Henderson found himself in a similar position when he was soundly beaten by the Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields, who, ironically, may be on his way to the UFC, while Fedor’s been the man UFC President Dana White’s actively pursued for the past couple of years. White can now sit back and laugh because the allure of Fedor is gone and the UFC will be able to name the world’s best heavyweight after UFC 116′s epic matchup between Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar.
Strikeforce’s heavyweight division also loses some momentum as Fedor will now have to work himself back into the heavyweight picture. A highly anticipated bout with Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem is now on hold as Fedor looks to redeem himself after the devastating loss. Fans hoping to see Strikeforce compete with the UFC will more than likely turn their attention back to the UFC and be comfortable saying the best heavyweights in the world live in the Octagon. Fighters like Fedor and Dan Henderson were supposed to help bolster Strikeforce’s presence, but the plan backfired.
Fedor’s loss isn’t as bad for him as it seems. He’s still 32-2-1 and has a resume that features names such as Mirko Cro Cop, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ricardo Arona and Kevin Randleman among others. It actually takes the pressure of remaining unbeaten off of the Russian. Fedor still has the technique and skill to beat any fighter in the world, it’s just a matter of how he rises after being beaten for the first time in his career.
Expect a new, re-focused Emelianenko to emerge and be ready to take back his crown. Strikeforce, on the other hand, better slow down the pandering towards bigger names and focus on some of their younger talent.
We’ll see how both pan out.