The Uncrowned Emperor | Fedor Emelianenko | Later Years: 2005 to 2009

fedor

The first article I wrote on Fedor reviewed his wins over the likes of Heath Herring, Big Nog twice, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, and Semmy Schilt. Of all his seven ranked wins during that time period, he finished four of those guys. In his early years of capturing a championship and defending it, he had established himself as a dominant force in PRIDE. The wins I will discuss in this article will display just how much of a destroyer he was, and why he sparked so many fiery discussions about potential matchups that never came to fruition. Let's take a look at the second half of his legendary PRIDE run.

Fedor's ranked wins: 2005 to 2009

Event: PRIDE Final Conflict 2005

Opponent: Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic

Opponent Ranking: 4

Result: Win // Unanimous Decision

Score: 4.5 points

fedorcrocop

Cro Cop was ranked at number four going into this fight, Any fan with a brain knew Cro Cop was the second best guy at heavyweight, and had the biggest chance of dethroning The Last Emperor. He was widely viewed as the best striker in the division. With improving ground skills, Cro Cop put together a 7-fight winning streak over a 13 month period over the likes of Aleks Emelianenko, Barnett, Coleman and Randleman (revenge!). This all culminated into a massive train of excitement that took the MMA world by storm, this fight being billed as the biggest heavyweight fight in MMA. Alas, it was. Although Fedor was only a moderate favorite, the champ was still being hailed as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and most die hard fans expected him to be an utterly dominating force against Mirko. To some extent, they were right. Fedor won decisively - although it wasn't as definitive as a lot of us expected, Fedor proved he was the better man that night. Fedor's gameplan was simple: move forward and make Cro Cop uncomfortable, clinch, get a takedown, finish him on the ground. Although Mirko made this a competitive fight, Fedor was largely able to execute what he wanted to. Cro Cop looked good in the opening frame, and was able to land a lot of strikes, forcing Fedor to reach and miss. At the end of the first, Cro Cop already looked tired, and that would prove to be his downfall. Fedor controlled the second and third rounds, Taking Mirko down at will and landing short shots on the ground. There were brief moments for Cro Cop in both rounds but ultimately, once he was taken down, he was unable to get to his feet. Fedor defended his belt, once again.

Event: PRIDE 32

Opponent: Mark Coleman

Opponent Ranking: 4

Result: Win // Armbar

Score: 6 points

fedorcoleman2

At this point, Fedor has fought nearly everyone there is to fight in the PRIDE Heavyweight division. He is 12-0 in PRIDE, coming off the massive win over Cro Cop, and destruction of Zulu. Mark Coleman really showed his age in this fight, fighting the best heavyweight on the planet in a non-title bout. Another thing he showed in this fight was an iron chin, as he absorbed a lot of heavy shots from Fedor in the opening frame, when he failed to take the Russian down. In the second round, Fedor stuffs Coleman's first shot, but as Mark pressures him, he is able to secure a double leg and get Fedor down. Working in open guard, Fedor transitions to an armbar and submits Coleman just one minute into the second round. Another stoppage win for The Last Emperor.

Event: PRIDE Shockwave 2006

Opponent: Mark Hunt

Opponent Ranking: 7

Result: Win // Kimura

Score: 4 points

fedorhunt

In the 2000s, Mark Hunt was known for being a dangerous kickboxer who had power in virtually every strike he threw. As he transitioned to MMA, his ground game improved, but it was always a big hole in his game. However, you wouldn’t have known by watching his showdown with Fedor. In this particular matchup, in which we saw oddsmakers make Fedor a -650 favorite over Hunt, we saw not just one reversal from him on the ground, but two. The second time Hunt reversed Fedor, he passed to mount, and tried for an americana keylock. Fedor escaped and with Hunt exhausted from so much grappling, Hunt is taken down and finished by a Fedor kimura from half guard. The champ was tested, but his winning streak moves to 22 straight overall, and a 23 fight unbeaten streak if you include the no contest against Big Nog.

Event: Affliction: Banned

Opponent: Tim Sylvia

Opponent Ranking: 8

Result: Win // Rear-Naked Choke

Score: 4 points

fedortim

There were a few guys that we all wanted to see Fedor fight during his historic run. Randy Couture, Frank Mir, and Brock Lesnar come to mind. Tim Sylvia is another guy we all thought could present some stylistic challenges to Fedor, although Tim was never quite the dominant force Fedor was, even in his prime. In fact, Sylvia expressed a desire to fight Fedor while he was in the UFC, and was even granted a release from the UFC in 2008, citing low pay and an inability to fight Fedor. While Sylvia wasn't really known as a ground fighter, his size and length matched up well against Fedor standing up. Additionally, with his experience as a two-time UFC champion, Sylvia had proven himself with wins over Arlovski (x2), Wes Sims, Gan McGee, Monson, Telligman and Ricco Rodriguez. By the time he fought Fedor he was 32 years old, just one year and three fights removed from being the UFC Heavyweight Champion, and had gone 1-2 in his last four, His losses being to Big Nog and Couture. Fedor and Sylvia met in July of 2008. From the sound of the opening bell, Fedor immediately closed the distance and clinched. He then landed a few punches that stunned Sylvia, followed by a sequence of lead uppercut-right hook combinations that dropped him. Fedor jumped on Sylvia and finished him with a rear-naked choke.

Event: Affliction: Day Of Reckoning

Opponent: Andrei Arlovski

Opponent Ranking: 5

Result: Win // KO

Score: 6 points

fedorarlovski

Although Arlovski was pretty well removed from his UFC championship run, he was still absolutely at the peak of his abilities, and was coming off a five fight win streak including victories over Werdum, Rothwell and Nelson. Fedor, coming off the demolition of Sylvia, proved to his critics (even Dana White) that not only was he still the dominant force that he was in Pride, but that he was still a world championship level fighter at the top of his game. Arlovski had a skill set that matched up well with The Emperor: a former UFC Heavyweight champion who could knock anyone out, and had the ground skills to counter Fedor or avoid being taken down. Although Fedor came in as a moderate favorite, Arlovski controlled the opening minutes using low kicks and straight punches. Fedor did have trouble closing the distance and whiffed on a good number of hooks, but he was able to land a few decent shots of his own. Arlovski landed a beautiful overhand right that stunned Fedor momentarily, and followed it up with a front kick that pushed Fedor backwards towards the corner of the ring. Andrei smelled blood, and went in for the kill. As he left his feet to throw a flying knee, Fedor crashed into him with a MASSIVE right hand that landed right on the button. Arlovski fell to the canvas, lifeless. Despite being out struck for most of the round, The Emperor found a way to get the job done.

Event: Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers

Opponent: Brett Rogers

Opponent Ranking: 7

Result: Win // KO

Score: 4 points

fedorrogers

Brett Rogers was coming off of his own knockout of Andrei Arlovski, which was a HUGE upset at the time. Rogers came into Strikeforce with a few good wins and an undefeated record, and a win over fellow prospect Ron Humphrey catapulted him into a fight with Andrei Arlovski. Rogers was largely untested, and inexperienced. Nonetheless, Brett was able to hurt Andrei in the early moments of the fight, and swarm him with a furious pattern of left and right hooks until Arlovski collapsed. Despite the result of that fight, Rogers was a heavy underdog going into his fight with Fedor, and was understandably not expected to do well at all against the former PRIDE champ. Rogers opens the fight with some solid jabs, one of which seems to have an effect on Fedor's nose. Fedor again has trouble closing the distance, but he is able to land a few good shots. He takes down Rogers, who pops right back up, as Fedor lands a big shot and gets another takedown. Ultimately Fedor would end the round on top after being reversed. At the start of the second round, looking towards a tiring Rogers, Fedor pushes the pace up against the cage. Once they separate, Fedor lands a heatseeker right hand on the chin as Rogers comes in to throw his own left hook. Within seconds, the fight is stopped.

That covers all of Fedor's ranked wins. Unfortunately he never joined the UFC and later in his career, went back to fight in Japan, then made his US return fighting for Bellator. While he did pick up some solid wins there, none of the heavyweights he beat were ranked in the top 15.

Total Resume Score: 57.5 points

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