In a Strikeforce and M-1 Global co-promoted main event Saturday night, heavyweight Antonio "Big Foot" Silva scored a victory by TKO over Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko when ringside physicians elected to stop the bout before the start of the third round in East Rutherford, N.J.
The loss by Emelianenko (31-3, 1 NC) was a total surprise to many MMA fans, but the biggest surprise was that the greatest heavyweight in mixed martial artists history was calling it quits.
Speaking with Showtime announcer Gus Johnson after the bout, an emotional Emelianenko said: “Thank you very much for the support. And what happen, maybe I didn’t manage to re-adjust myself and something went wrong from the very beginning and I didn’t re-adjust myself. Maybe it’s the time to leave.”
Johnson was caught off guard by Emelianenko's statement. The fighter continued: “Yes, maybe this is last time, maybe it’s high time [to retire]. Thank God for everything. I [had] a great, beautiful sporting life. Maybe it’s God will."
M-1 Global director of operations Evgeni Kogan said after the fight: “The commission erred on the side of caution in stopping the bout when Fedor wanted to continue, and we put our trust in their decision. A fighter’s safety is always paramount. Fedor trained harder than he ever had for this fight against Silva, and we’ll never know what the outcome would have been had they entered into the third round. Tonight was disappointing.”
In Emelianenko’s previous fight, he lost by submission to Fabricio Werdum. After the lost to Silva, Werdum questioned Emelianenko’s training. He said he believes Emelianenko isn’t being pushed enough in the gym.
Many believe this was the reason UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar lost his last bout against Cain Velázquez. A fighter is only as good as the trainers and fighters he surrounds himself with and trains against. If no one pushes him in the gym and he has “yes men” in his camp, he will never reach his potential.
I believe Emelianenko is making the right decision to retire. Too many times, we see the aging fighter get dominated by a younger and much stronger opponent.
Clearly in Saturday night's main event, Silva had a huge size advantage. He looked to outweigh Emelianenko by 40 pounds. This looked similar to the UFC heavyweight fight between Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar in which Lesnar looked to be about 50 pounds heavier he out-muscled the smaller Couture.
Do you believe this should be Emelianenko’s last fight?
Below are results from the undercard:
Sergei Kharitonov def. Andrei Arlovski via knockout (strikes) - Round 1, 2:49
Shane Del Rosario def. Lavar Johnson via submission (armbar) - Round 1, 4:31
Chad Griggs def. Gian Villante via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 2:49
John Cholish def. Marc Stevens via submission (kneebar) - Round 2, 3:57
Igor Gracie def. John Salgado via technical submission (arm-triangle choke) - Round 2, 3:04
Sam Oropeza def. Don Carlo-Clauss via submission (strikes) - Round 1, 4:10
Josh LaBerge def. Anthony Leone via TKO (cut) - Round 1, 5:00
Jason McLean def. Kevin Roddy via split decision