Over the past couple weeks, a common theme in MMA headlines was the name “Silva”. Last weekend, it was Anderson Silva and the teep kick that destroyed Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. During the week, it was Thiago Silva and talks of him being pulled from a UFC 130 bout with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson due to a failed drug test from his bout at UFC 125. Now, this weekend, the big discussions have all been about Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and his decisive victory over the mighty Fedor Emelianenko in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
The latter Silva cemented his place in MMA History by being the first, and possibly only, man to legitimately defeat Fedor via TKO stoppage. However, the first man to legitimately defeat the mighty Fedor was Fabricio Werdum when he won via submission (triangle/armbar) last June. Now, for the first time in his storied career, not only was “The Last Emperor” decisively defeated, but he was defeated in back-to-back outings. These two Brazilians did what only one man had done before in a span of nine years. However, his previous TKO (Doctor Stoppage) loss to Tsuyoshi Kohsaka back in 2000 is highly debated due to the fact that the cut that caused the stoppage was the result of a glancing, illegal elbow that reopened a cut from a previous bout earlier in the day. Because they were involved in a tournament, a winner and a loser had to be determined and since Fedor was not able to continue in the fight, he was named the loser.
With both men earning a place in history by defeating Fedor, which man’s victory is bigger?
When Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (14-4-1) was named to face Fedor, almost everybody wrote him off immediately and thought Fedor was going to run through him in true Fedor fashion. Going into the fight, Werdum was a massive underdog and virtually shocked the entire world when he forced “The Last Emperor” to tap out with a triangle choke/armbar combination. Ironically, Fedor appeared as if he didn’t know how to tap out when he just did a double-tap rather than repeated taps that we are used to seeing. Shortly after Werdum’s hand was raised in victory, jaws around the world slowly withdrew to their original location after hitting the floor in disbelief. However, the buzz around the fight would carry on for weeks and months to come.
Not only did Fabricio Werdum hand Fedor his first loss in nearly 10 years, he also submitted him for the first time in his entire career and in less than two minutes. Being an underdog and defeating the, arguably, best Heavyweight fighter in all of MMA is a feat that will all but guarantee you a spot in the annuls of MMA history. From here on out, Werdum will forever be remembered as the man who handed Fedor Emelianenko his first legitimate loss in his entire career. However, he is now not the only one to have defeated the great Fedor.
Coming into one of the biggest fights in his career, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (16-2) was also a big underdog. Not only was he an underdog in the fight but also in the “Who Will Win the Heavyweight Grand Prix?” fan poll in which he received less than ten percent of the votes. In the first round of the fight, he came out strong and showed that he wasn’t intimidated by the aura surrounding Fedor. After a back and forth round, two of the judges scored it 10-9 for Fedor and only one scored it 10-9 for Silva. At the beginning of the second round, Silva immediately ducked a looping punch and took Fedor to the ground. For nearly the entire round, Silva was in top position working some nice ground-and-pound and even threatened with an arm-triangle choke. Somehow, Fedor was able to wiggle his way free from the choke, but not out of the danger that is Antonio Silva. With just under a minute left, Silva attempted a kneebar but Fedor escaped and latched onto a kneebar of his own. Luckily for Silva, Fedor was too weak to really threaten with it and the round came to an end.
As the camera showed Fedor’s corner between rounds, you could see that his right eye was completely swollen shut and very bruised and the cage-side doctor was inspecting it. Shortly after, the doctor spoke with Fedor’s corner and referee Dan Miragliotta and the fight was stopped. Once again, jaws were on the floor as the whole thing played out. When word finally made it across the cage to Bigfoot’s corner, he was ecstatic; he grabbed both his corner men in a headlock-type embrace and a huge grin spread across his face.
Now, with this defeat, Fedor had been submitted for the first time, legitimately defeated by TKO for the first time and handed back-to-back losses for the first time. Two men had stepped into the cage with the mighty Fedor Emelianenko and both walked back out victorious. One man forced him to submit and the other physically dominated him and forced the doctor/referee to prevent the fight from continuing.
In terms of historical importance, Werdum’s fight was just another fight, but Silva’s earned him a spot in the next round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix, that Fedor was favored to win. Silva may have beaten him more decisively, but Werdum beat him first. With both men earning wins over the once-feared Fedor Emelianenko, the debate over whose win was more emphatic and left a bigger impact on the MMA community will forever go on. The only thing for sure is that Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko will forever be a legend in the sport and highly regarded as the best Heavyweight fighter in the world.
About the Author (Author Profile)Aspiring chef turned MMA writer after financial issues prevented me from pursuing my first dream. Ever since I started watching MMA, I've read up about it and talk about it all the time and with the encouragement of family and friends I finally decided to actively pursue a career in writing about it.
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- World Spinner | February 17, 2011