After a lightning knockout of Pedro Rizzo, that reminded many of the fighter that dominated Pride, Fedor Emelianenko retired from the sport of mixed martial arts. The Last Emperor finishes his career with a record of thirty-four wins and four losses, a career that included a twenty-seven fight undefeated streak that spanned more than eight years. He was the final Pride heavyweight champion and has been named the fighter of the 2000’s decade by a number of MMA publications. A multitude of sambo and judo awards also decorate his resume and despite the fact that he never set foot inside the Octagon, he will likely go down as the greatest heavyweight in the sport’s history.
A vicious striker and dominant grappler with a constant, cold stare, Emelianenko was the silent juggernaut that mowed through everyone Pride put in his path. The list of guys he’s defeated reads like an MMA hall of fame: Antonio Minotauro Nogueria (twice), Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Mirko Filopovic, Matt Lindland, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski and now Pedro Rizzo. More than just his skills, Fedor came with an aura that made him more than just a fighter. He was seemingly untouchable, and even when someone broke through that facade and hurt him (see Matt Lindland and Brett Rogers fights), Fedor remained calm and collected and usually came back with a vengeance. I remember being so excited to be able to see the Rogers fight. The weeks of buildup were impressive as the best fighter on the planet was being showcased on a major network, long before the dream of the UFC of network TV would come true. Once again, Fedor did not disappoint in his comeback knockout win over the tough Rogers. More would be to come as I got to share the mystique of Fedor with a bunch of new fight friends I had recently met. Much to my surprise, we were treated to history and not the type we were all expecting.
I can throw as many ten-cent words as I like out, but the best way to understand the career of Fedor Emelianenko is to see some of the highlights of it. Thank you YouTube.
Fedor vs. Rogers – November 7, 2009 on CBS – Fedor gets rocked in the first round and comes back to deliver a vicious knockout
Fedor vs. Tim Sylvia – July 19, 2008, Affliction: Banned
The Last Emperor becomes the inaugural WAMMA heavyweight champion by swarming the former UFC heavyweight champ and eventually choking him out.
Fedor vs. Babalu – August 11, 2001 – RINGS 10th Anniversary
Emelianenko dominates his way to a unanimous decision and the 2001 RINGS Openweight championship. The early stages of his 8-year reign of undefeated dominance
Fedor vs. Minotauro – December 31, 2004 – Pride Shockwave 2004
In their third epic confrontation, Fedor walks away as the undisputed heavyweight champion after picking apart Big Nog on the feet for the first round, then keeping him at bay and stuffing takedown after takedown.
Fedor vs. Pedro Rizzo – June 21, 2012 – M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Rizzo
Fedor’s final fight, one more fast KO
ARMANDO EDIT: I had to add one to the list – simply known as “The One Where Fedor Imitates A Surface-To-Air Missile”