Strikeforce is making a good bit of noise with its heavyweight grand prix. And for the first phase of the event, on February 12 in New Jersey, one fight in particular has caught fans’ attention. In one of the quarterfinals, Antonio “Pezão” and Fedor Emelianenko will square off. The fighters commented on the matchups in statements made over the Strikeforce Twitter account after a press-conference.
“I’ll probably train in Russia. I feel it’s better for me and I’d like to be near my family. All I do there is train, eat, and sleep. That’s what lets me be in the best fighting shape I can be,” comments the Russian, who plays down what has been said about him over recent years.
“I never believed I was the best fighter in the world.”
Accustomed to the GPs of his days in Pride, Fedor is excited about Strikeforce’s intiative.
“There’s certainly a greater level of excitement here. In each round, I’ll fight the best in the world,” he says.
In his last appearance, against Fabrício Werdum, Emelianenko ended up losing by submission, which put an end to an unbeaten streak that lasted nearly ten years. However, the fighter has faith in sambo, the style he has his background in and of which he is champion.
“It’s just one fight. A lot of people have evaluated the ground to be my weakness. If that’s what they think, let them try and take advantage of it.”
And addressing Werdum, the Russian exclaims: “I’m ready and prepared to get in the cage with Fabrício again, anytime.”
Anxious about the bout, Antonio Pezão hopes to do to Fedor what Werdum did.
“He’s at the top of the food chain. I’ll follow my dreams and forge ahead,” says the Brazilian.
“I’m going to beat a legend and become a legend too,” he adds.
“He’s a complete fighter, so it’s hard to predict how the fight will go. I know I can beat him. God gave me the ideal fight at the right time!” he says in closing.
Besides Fedor vs. Pezão, the first phase of the GP features a matchup between Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov. The second phase will have Fabrício Werdum facing Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett against Brett Rogers.