Posted by Tommy Hackett on June 26th, 2010
Tonight, Strikeforce and M-1 Global offer a huge show for any MMA fan — as the greatest of all time, Fedor Emelianenko, takes on one of the world’s top ten heavyweights in Brazilian jiu-jitsu luminary Fabricio Werdum. The bout will be broadcast live 10 pm EST from the HP Pavillion in San Jose, CA on Showtime, delayed on the West Coast, and likely streamed illegally everywhere else.
Earlier this week, I enjoyed a Fedor Emelianenko interview — and yes, I realize there’s nothing unusual about that. He’s had some classics, like earlier this year where he took some of his fellow sportsmen for “forgetting their flags,” describing his religous faith, and more. His quiet integrity is what makes me a Fedor fan, the qualities that Dave Meltzer references when he dubbed the man the “anti-Brock Lesnar” recently.
But what struck me about this interview, which was sent from Strikeforce’s office and posted on Youtube, was that Fedor Emelianenko, the greatest of all time, appeared almost as burned out as I am about MMA lately. Among other things, he admits he doesn’t enjoy watching MMA fights; and essentially struggles to say anything at all about his opponent.
Still, the fights are on — and they should be well worth watching.
The show will mark the first time the world’s #1 male and female fighters will appear on the same show. There’s still honor in this game.
As Fedor puts it in that very interview, “I do not consider myself to be the strongest fighter or be a very special person… there are a lot of people who pray for me and that’s why I want to be the representative of my country… I just want people to remember me as the honest person, the person who loves his country, his motherland and who glorifies the Orthodox Russia.”
My predictions follow.
As always, these are for entertainment purposes only…
Heavyweight bout: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum
Werdum is a huge five-to-one underdog for a reason. Zach Arnold (my, I’m poaching off him today) reported Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker mostly making a case for the upset by such comments as “he’s big” and “you never know.” Ouch. Still, both are true, and Werdum has admittedly remarkable jiu-jitsu credentials. I just think his measured application of my beloved arte suave isn’t the answer to Fedor. He’s very good but he’s not an overpowering wrestler who can put Fedor on his back and avoid getting countered to death standing… sadly, all those guys are with ZUFFA. Coker’s right, you never know, and it may take a while… but I see Fedor eventually putting the big man to sleep with a huge left hook. Watch for Fedor to fake the throw or reap and get the T/KO. Fedor, T/KO 3.
Middleweight bout: Cung Le vs. Scott Smith
He’s kind of puttered around for a while, but San Jose’s hometown hero Le is still dangerous to anyone who stands with him. Watch for Smith, still primarily a boxer, to do just that. In Smith’s most impressive performances, against Robbie Lawler and his earlier bout with Le, he was open to kicks as his opponents controlled the range, but both times he was able to escape — a no-contest in the former and an unlikely come-from-behind win in the latter. Watch for Le show he’s learned from the mistakes of their earlier bout, and put Smith away as soon as he gets him in trouble. Le, T/KO 2.
Women’s Featherweight Championship bout: Cristiane Santos(c) vs. Jan Finney
I don’t think Finney has anything for Santos. Look for a quick and ugly beatdown after “Cyborg” gets a first round takedown. Santos, T/KO 1.
As always, enjoy the fights.