During Fedor Emelianenko’s long run as the top fighter in mixed martial arts, it was joked that he was some sort of a cyborg robot who couldn’t be beaten. On Saturday night at the Sears Centre Arena, Fedor got Fedor’d by Dan Henderson in losing his third fight in a row. The losing streak follows an incredible run in which he went undefeated in his prior 28 fights over a nine-year period.
When the the Russian’s first-round TKO loss was over, it hearkened back to some of the most memorable moments of his heyday. Such as the night in 2004 when he was suplexed on the top of his head by Kevin Randleman, only to submit Randleman with a Kimura seconds later. Or the night in 2003 when Kazuyuki Fujita connected with a haymaker and put him on rubber legs, and quicker than you could say his name three times, Fujita was submitted to a choke.
And it was just as clear those magic Fedor moments were a long time ago in a rapidly changing and evolving sport.
Even though Emelianeko (31-4, 1 no contest) and Henderson (28-8) put on one of the best fights in Strikeforce history before a crowd of 8,311, the traditional roles of a Fedor fight were reversed. Emelianenko knocked Henderson down and pounded on him late in the first round, seemingly seconds from finishing the fight. But Henderson snuck out the back door and landed an uppercut to Emelianenko’s jaw. Emelianenko flattened out, and with Henderson’s next punch, his body seemed to go momentarily limp.
Henderson threw a few more punches as ref Herb Dean dove in to stop the fight at the 4:12 mark of the first round.
“I’m not a machine, I’m not a robot,” said Emelianenko through his interpreter. “There are good moments and there are bad moments, and that’s what’s happened recently.”By: Michael Stevens
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