Fedor Emelianenko (pictured) is fighting this Saturday. Many moons ago, that would have meant something (if not EVERYTHING). In 2017, at the ripe old age of 40, even the most diehard fight fan barely bats an eye.
There’s more of a circus-like atmosphere surrounding Bellator 172 than anything resembling a major MMA event.
This is expected to be “The Last Emperor’s” last run in the sport. A devastating defeat to Matt Mitrione tomorrow should mark his last hurrah.
Emelianenko was last seen posting a ho-hum majority decision win over Fabio Maldonado in July. Prior to that he hung four victories over fellow past-their-prime fighters in a span of four years.
Like the majority of his 41 professional fights, his last five bouts have taken place outside of America. The last time the Russian invaded the US, things quickly went south.
A shocking submission loss to Fabricio Werdum in 2010, arguably the biggest upset in MMA history, spelled the beginning of the end for Emelianenko. He followed that up by getting mauled by Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who in years past wouldn’t be worthy of holding his towel.
To complete the reverse trifecta, Emelianenko was plastered by an undersized and aging Dan Henderson.
After those three performances, stateside fans who were under the UFC’s powerful spell quickly forgot that Emelianenko had been riding an unprecedented 27-fight win streak and was considered by most pundits as the game’s GOAT.
Many today still believe Emelianenko is the greatest mixed martial artist to ever live, despite his most recent performances on American soil. His standing on the MMA totem pole wouldn’t be debated had he taken one of the many opportunities offered to prove his mettle in the UFC.
However, that horse has already been beaten to death.
The Emelianenko fans can expect to see Saturday will be a shell of his former self – a one-dimensional slugger who abandoned his once-superior grappling and submission games long ago.
If nothing else, it will be entertaining. If everything else, it will be the circus Bellator has made Emelianenko’s promotional debut out to be.