Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
"The Last Emperor" fell again.
Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva battered Fedor Emelianenko and forced the former PRIDE heavyweight champion's right eye to swell shut, prompting a doctor's stoppage following the second round of their featured attraction at Strikeforce's "Fedor vs. Silva" event on Saturday at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ.
"I trained very hard for this fight," Silva, who advances to the second leg of Strikeforce's heavyweight grand prix, said afterwards. "People are always saying 'Fedor, Fedor, Fedor'. I trained too hard and I showed it to the world. I won over the best heavyweight in the world."
Emelianenko (31-3) and Silva (16-2) slugged it out in the first, with each fighter content to stand and trade with heavy force. Emelianenko took the nod on the judge's scorecards early, but it was an entirely different story in the second.
Silva scored an early takedown and never let Emelianenko return to his feet, quickly mounting MMA's perennial heavyweight king. Emelianenko fought desperately to escape while Silva pounded away with punches and worked for a rear-naked choke.
"Bigfoot" locked in an arm-triangle choke and looked to have Emelianenko finished, but Fedor amazingly escaped the hold and traded leg-lock attempts with the Brazilian before the horn sounded.
Emelianenko returned to his corner with his eye completely swollen shut and after some initial confusion, the ringside doctor and referee Dan Miragliotta waved off the bout.
Kharitonov KO's Arlovski
Sergei Kharitonov also moved on to the second round of Strikeforce's heralded heavyweight tournament, scoring a first-round knockout of former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski.
Arlovski (15-9) held an advantage during the beginning stages of the fight, using superior speed and footwork to keep Kharitonov (18-4) at bay and rack up points with a stiff jab and crisp punches.
Eventually, Kharitonov was able to continually back his opponent up against the cage. The part-time K-1 competitor hurt Arlovski with an uppercut and then dropped with him with a right hand.
Kharitonov pounced on his foe and landed two unanswered shots that knocked Arlovski unconscious, handing "The Pitbull" his fourth consecutive loss and putting his future as a fighter in question.
"Andrei is a very tough fighter," Kharitonov said. "I hope we will become friends after this. I respect his skills and I respect him as a person, but I don't care what the experts think. I'm going to win this tournament."
Griggs, del Rosario and Overeem Advance
Brawling upstart Chad Griggs, unbeaten prospect Shane del Rosario and longtime veteran Valentijn Overeem all scored victorious to secure their respective slots as injury reserves for Strikeforce's heavyweight tournament.
Griggs (10-1) surprised Ring of Combat product Gian Villante from the start of their main card bout and quickly stopped Villante (7-2) with a blitz of heavy punches in just over two minutes.
Meanwhile, del Rosario (11-0) survived a rough start to dispatch of Lavar Johnson (15-4) with a slick first-round armbar. Overeem (29-25) also took advantage of K-1 veteran Ray Sefo's lack of ground knowledge, submitting Sefo (2-1) with a neck crank just a minute and a half into their televised fight.
John Cholish def. Marc Stevens - Submission (Kneebar) R2, 3:57
Igor Gracie def. John Salgado - Submission (Arm-Triangle) R2, 3:04
Sam Oropeza def. Don Carlo-Clauss - Submission (Strikes) R1, 4:10
Josh LaBerge def. Anthony Leone - TKO (Cut) R1, 5:00
Jason McLean def. Kevin Roddy - Split Decision
Next entry: Fedor Emelianenko Leaning Towards Retirement