Strikeforce/M-1 Global 'Fedor vs. Rogers' Preview

Fedor vs. Rogers

Nov 4, 2009
Strikeforce/M-1 Global “Fedor vs. Rogers” will stare down the UFC and draw its line in the sand this Saturday, as heavyweight kingpin Fedor Emelianenko anchors the promotion’s CBS debut from the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. In making such a stand, it helps to have the most indestructible Russian since Rasputin by your side, along with an opponent who looks like a mutated version of Mr. T.

Besides the must-see intrigue that comes with Emelianenko stepping into a cage against Brett Rogers, the night will see Strikeforce crown a middleweight champion when jiu-jitsu demigod Jake Shields takes on Jason “Mayhem” Miller. Though light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi will not put his strap on the line in his bout with Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, anytime guys nicknamed “The Dreamcatcher” and “The African Assassin” fight, we owe it to ourselves to watch.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers

The Breakdown: More than six years into his reign as the T-1000 of the heavyweight class, Emelianenko faces a familiar challenge in Rogers -- a ginormous brawler blessed with the punching power needed to starch a cyborg emperor. However, putting fist to face appears to be the only threat Rogers poses to Emelianenko, who has a whole toolbox of skills thanks to his legendary international Sambo career, as well as the kind of ground-and-pound that can give the heartiest onlooker a migraine.

If anything works in Rogers’ favor, it could be that Emelianenko seems to go along with whatever his opponent wants to do out of an almost reckless confidence that he can succeed in any situation. It has yet to cost him a fight, but it has gotten him in trouble before, and Rogers only needs one punch and one mistake to precede it to leave lots of bookies in tears.

Considering both fighters rely on wide looping punches, the openings will be there for both men to play shatter the skull. Of course, this assumes Emelianenko does not drag Rogers to the mat and dismantle him like a stack of Legos. Although no one has seen Rogers’ ground game, it seems safe to assume that he will not do anything except tap out if Emelianenko pulls him into the deep end of the pool.

The X-Factor: Emelianenko has weaknesses, but his opponents always end up laid out before they get a chance to do anything except look overmatched. Rogers does have the ability to exploit Emelianenko’s mediocre chin, but that means putting himself right in the Russian’s wheelhouse.

Rogers certainly will not be afraid to collapse the pocket, but no heavyweight can walk through Emelianenko’s punches. Taking a few of those shots will be the price of admission for Rogers.

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The Bottom Line: Everyone from Andrei Arlovski to Semmy Schilt had a striker’s chance against Emelianenko, and they all discovered why they were better off leaving the quiet, dead-eyed Russian alone. That lesson that will be written across Rogers’ face, as well, as Emelianenko takes advantage of his aggression and greets him with an overhand right midway through the opening stanza.
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