How would Fedor Emelianenko handle the current heavyweight champ? | Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
The comparisons were inevitable.
Not long after Cain Velasquez retained the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title and completed his trilogy with Junior dos Santos by scoring a fifth-round technical knockout over the Brazilian at UFC 166 in Houston, talk turned to whether or not the American Kickboxing Academy ace had entered the discussion for greatest heavyweight of all-time. That brought Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko into the equation. How would Velasquez fare in a hypothetical matchup with the former Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight titleholder?
Emelianenko -- who turned 37 in September -- went on an historic 28-fight unbeaten streak from April 2001 until June 2010, during which he captured the Pride heavyweight crown and became an almost mythic figure in MMA. Known for his stoic demeanor, soft physique and overwhelming all-around skills, “The Last Emperor” delivered 26 of his 34 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission, a staggering 23 of them inside the first round. His lengthy list of victims includes four former UFC titleholders (Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman), three Olympic medalists (Matt Lindland, Naoya Ogawa and Satoshi Ishii) and three K-1 World Grand Prix winners (Mirko Filipovic, Semmy Schilt and Mark Hunt).
Spawned by Russia’s Red Devil Sport Club, Emelianenko won the Pride heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over Brazilian icon Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in March 2003 and never relinquished it. Having never competed inside the UFC, his legacy took a hit after two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Fabricio Werdum submitted him in Strikeforce in June 2010. Emelianenko proceeded to lose his next to bouts to Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson in decisive fashion.
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