Seal Beach, CA - Watching Fedor Emelianenko “made me nervous tonight,” said Josh Barnett about Fedor’s bout with Andrei Arlovski at Afflictions “Day of Reckoning”. Barnett will face Fedor on August 1st at Affliction M-1 Global’s “Trilogy.” He is probably wondering, like all fight fans and fighters on earth: can Fedor be beaten or is he invincible? The single loss on Fedor’s record is often disregarded as evidence of his vulnerability, since it was due to a cut resulting from an accidental (and illegal) elbow by Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Even with this one debatable blemish on his record (he went on to later beat Kohsaka in a follow-up match), Fedor is the most revered heavyweight in the world by fighters and fans alike.
Fedor is one of those rare fighters that has staying power who consistently outperforms his competition. One of the things that makes Fedor a legend is his resilience. Fedor takes a beating and keeps on beating his opponents—he has been dazed by Kazuyuki Fujita’s right hook, broken his hand on Gary Goodridge’s head, been suplexed by Kevin Randleman, fought off the impressive ground skills of Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, recovered from Mirko Filipovic’s brutal lefts to the face, endured Mark Hunt’s keylock, reversed Matt Lindland’s attempted bodylock takedown, overcome the giant Tim Sylvia, and survived the boxing skills of Andrei Arlovski. In the end, whether or not he has taken some blows, Fedor prevails over his opponents and deals out the final punishment.
Fedor always has the better game plan, and more importantly, he sticks to it. Besides great strategizing and level-headedness in the ring, what makes him such an effective fighter? The heavyweight doesn’t seem to have any discernible weaknesses to exploit. He offers equal parts of technique, adaptability, calmness under pressure, toughness, resilience, stamina, aggressiveness, patience, and commitment. Perhaps more than anything, Fedor is a master of capitalizing on his opponents’ lapses in judgment, finding a sliver of an opening and blowing it up into defeat. But Fedor does not stop there; he tends to stop challengers where they are most dangerous.
A favorite pastime for fight fans is to engage in long conversations (or message threads) contemplating this question: just what would it take to take this guy down? Many who have had to face the champion have found this pursuit futile. No one has been able to break Fedor’s complete control in the ring. According to his friend and up-coming opponent, Josh Barnett, “Fedor is a great thinker in the ring. And he always keeps control of the other fighter. It is all within his control. If he wants to take a break he can. If he wants to push the pace he can. He is in complete control.”