On February 12th, the world was shocked once again, leaving fans disappointed and media members without words to describe what had just happened. The last PRIDE Heavyweight Champion, Fedor ”The Last Emperor” Emelianenko had just suffered his second lose in a row for the first time in his long career.
Fedor Emelianenko, widely considered to be the Greatest of all Time when it comes to MMA, was set to face off against Antonio “Big Foot” Silva in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix in East Rutherford, New Jersey. While many fans and people in the media gave the advantage to Fedor heading into the fight, Silva had other plans.
The opening round showed signs that Fedor wasn’t phased by the loss to Fabricio Werdum in 2010, throwing his patent looping punches, trying to put down the much larger Silva. Both fighters, true warriors in every sense of the word, battled toe to toe before Silva attempted to bring the fight to the ground. Fedor, a Master of Sambo, was able to avoid takedowns and get the fight to the ground with him on top in Silva’s half guard. Fedor, a master of ground and pound, reigned strikes down before attempted a Kimura, a move Silva was able to avoid and get the fight back standing. With the closing seconds near, Silva finally achieved what he had been wanting, getting Fedor down to the ground before the round ended.
Much like the first round ended, the second round began as Silva was able to quickly get the takedown and worked to pass the guard of Fedor. Achieving mount, Silva was able to land some shots that forced Fedor to turn over and give up his back to avoid the damage. Silva, who cuts to 265 lbs and weighed in around 285 lbs come fight time, showed his dominance in the round, continuing the ground and pound before dropping back and attempted a leg lock submission on Fedor.
As the round ended, Fedor, walked back to his corner, his eye completely swollen shut, dominated by the bigger man. The doctors checked out the eye and called a stop to the fight between rounds and Big Foot was able to celebrate his greatest victory to date in his professional MMA career.
“All the people say, ‘Fedor, Fedor, Fedor,’” Silva said after the fight. “I showed the world now.”
The man who jokingly told everyone that he didn’t smoke cigarettes, drink soda and watch movies during his time before the fight, was able to earn the greatest victory in his career, a career that has been impressive up until and including this fight.
For Fedor, talk of retirement filled the arena after the loss, in speaking with Strikeforce commentator, Gus Johnson. “Thank you very much for your love and support,” Fedor said. “Something went wrong from the very beginning…. Maybe it’s the time to leave…. Maybe it’s the last time, maybe it’s high time. Thank God for everything. I’ve had a great sporting life. Maybe it’s God’s will.”
While Scott Coker and Fedor’s friend and longtime manager Vadim Finkelstein don’t believe Fedor will retire, if the Russian does in fact choose to continue, there is a chance we could see the G.O.A.T back in the tournament. “There’s absolutely a possibility that he could be a replacement. There could be an injury and we could get Fedor back in the tournament, but either way he’ll be fighting high-level competition,” said Coker.
While Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker didn’t elaborate who was on this committee that would choose the replacement fighters, he did tell us that he was not on the committee and that he had no say in the matter and that it would be up to them who they would want back into the tournament barring any injuries from the remaining fighters.
While the chapter could possibly close on one career, Antonio Big Foot Silva will continue his way in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.