In the main event of Bellator 198, Fedor Emelianenko rolled back the years to knock out former UFC champion Frank Mir in forty-eight seconds. Despite lasting less than a minute, the fight was a war, and just like he did so often in Pride – Fedor came out on top. This does not mean fans should expect him to win the Heavyweight Grand Prix, but this fight does add to his already impressive resume.
Over the past eight years, fans young and old have only witnessed a shell of the fighter that once ruled Pride FC with an iron fist. Prior to last Saturday, Fedor had not won a major fight since his victory over Brett Rogers in 2009. Fans have only heard of the Russians greatness as opposed to actually having witnessed it.
A lot of fans, who are either new or only live in the UFC bubble, have disregarded the accomplishments of “The Last Emperor”. They claim that because he has not competed in the UFC, he is not great. These fans are not only foolish, but they are uneducated.
As hard as it may be for these fans to believe, there was a time when the UFC was not the premier organization. In the early 2000’s, Pride ruled the MMA world, especially when it came to the heavyweights. Fighters like Nogueira, Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, and Fedor were all together. Not only were they all fighting in the same company, but they were all in their prime.
Fedor did not just beat them all, he destroyed them. He also went undefeated for ten years. Last Saturday, the Russian was finally able to show these fans a glimpse of the old Fedor.
Critics Be Damned
In his Bellator debuted against Matt Mitrione, we witnessed a sight that has become all too familiar over the last few years. Fedor on his back and his opponents hand being raised in victory. To be fair, he was close to knocking out Mitrione in that fight, but the ex-footballers youth came through for him.
In his fight with Mir, many fans feared the same ending. However, this past Saturday reminded us that you do not underestimate Fedor, and you never know what’s going to happen when those cage doors close.
“The Last Emperor” took a big shot from the former UFC champ early on, but just like we used to see in Pride, he recovered and came back with his own flurry of punches. He also managed to showcase his grappling skills with an impressive trip before finally capitalizing on an opportunity. Not only did Fedor manage to show different parts of his game, he also showed that he still has the power to finish anyone.
It’s Not A Rebirth
While it was certainly an exciting moment, and one that many long-time MMA fans will cherish, people should not get carried away. It was still not the Fedor of old. He is forty-one, and his chin is still incapable of absorbing big punches. In the heavyweight division, that is almost like a death sentence, because all it takes is one punch for a fight to be over.
However, one should not be quick to forget about the significance of this victory for Fedor. It means he has now beaten five former UFC champions. This proves he is not only great, but he is still in the conversation of the greatest heavyweights of all time.