Fedor “The Last Emperor” once again defended his legacy as the best undefeated fighter in the world this past Saturday in the latest installment of Strikeforce. I was there in attendance at the Sears Center, watching eagerly as Jimmy Lenon introduced Fedor to the stadium. I was unsure of how the crowd would react to him. Although Fedor has fought for years on the fighting circuit establishing his dominance, he does not have the fame that lesser men have obtained. He lacks the powerful marketing machine that is the UFC to push his name out across the masses. So I wondered how well the crowd would receive him as he walks out into the cage.
To my surprise, Brett Rogers, who was hailing from Chicago, got booed. Terribly. I figured a hometown boy would get support from the crowd. However, that was not the case. This foreshadowed the grandiose reception that Fedor would get when he made his way out to the cage. He walked casually into the frenzy of cheering masses – flags and banners being hoisted throughout the stadium in support of “the Last Emperor.” Clearly, this event was sold out because Fedor was taking part in this event. It remains to be seen how good of draw Fedor is to the television audiences across the USA.
The fight between Fedor and Brett was everything it should have been – back and forth, explosive and containing a dramatic finish. The first contact was Brett’s jab intercepting Fedor’s two big overhands catching air. This strike bloodied Fedor’s nose, but it seemed to provoke no panic whatsoever. The fight continued to increase in intensity as the fighters both started to let loose. The exchange I remembered the most was Brett being inside Fedor’s guard after a failed attempt to improve his position. Brett let loose a salvo of heavy punches, several landing flush on the Russian’s face, that had me thinking, “Oh my god!” But, Fedor being the champion that he is, transitioned into an armbar attempt that Rogers evaded.
After the first round ended, I was shocked to see that the fight had made it past a round. Brett had shown some signs of fatigue towards the end of the round, but he was showing signs of being competitive and dangerous. Fedor quickly squashed any hopes of a upset with a powerful overhand right – putting Rogers flat on his back. Big John McCarthy quickly stopped the fight before Fedor could let loose some serious punishment.
I was happy with the way the fight turned out. Fedor winning and expanding his legacy is good for the sport. It shows that the best fighting talent is not solely owned by the UFC, and gives more chances to competitive promotions to make waves in our ever-growing sport. The big question is when will Fedor take on the likes of Brock Lesnar? A fight like that would seal his legacy and would be one for the ages!