Fedor Emelianenko was once considered to be the best fighter to have ever lived. Now, having lost twice in a row, his aura of invincibility has shattered and many are doubting the Russian sambo expert.
Fortunately for Emelianenko, he has been given one last chance to redeem himself (and perhaps retire with a win) in the form of a fight with current Strikeforce light heavyweight championâ€”as well as former UFC and Pride championâ€”Dan Henderson at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson on July 30th, 2011.
Had this fight been announced in the heydays of Pride, it would have been a dream match for MMA fans all over the world.
However, both fighters are now past their primes and in the twilight hours of their careers (specifically Emelianenko) and the fight doesn't represent a "superfight" so much as is represents a "last hurrah" for two legends.
Still, the fight is happening and is being hyped up by many a fan as something that will be epic and memorableâ€”a classic in the making.
But is it really? Does the fight actually make any sense?
The answer is twofold.
It doesn't make sense when you consider that Dan Henderson is currently coming off of a victory in which he captured the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship from Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante.
Emelianenko, on the other hand, has lost two straight. Only in Strikeforce does losing two fights in a row earn you a fight with the title holder from another weight class, even under Zuffa ownership (but maybe this isn't a surprise since Randy Couture was given two title shots when he was coming off of a loss)!
Despite this obvious flaw in matchmaking, the fight does actually make sense in other ways.
First, it makes financial sense. Zuffa is intending to get every last penny out of Emelianenko that it can. What a better way to do it than put him up against another big name in Dan Henderson?
Second, should Emelianenko lose it will assure Zuffa's victory over posterity. What this means is that if Emelianenko loses to Henderson (which is very likely; don't forget that it was predicted on Bleacher Report MMA that Emelianenko would lose to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva), Zuffa and Dana White will undoubtedly boast that Emelianenko couldn't even beat "UFC reject" Dan Henderson.
When one examines the fight very closely, the pros outweigh the cons, and the fight ultimately does make sense. If Fedor wins, great! Zuffa made money off of him and may be able to put him in another big fight. If Fedor loses, even better! Zuffa made money off of him and can now forever cast Fedor Emelianenko into the annals of MMA history as a false god worshiped only by misguided Pride fans.
By Matthew Saccaro