The body and stare were similar. The explosiveness and speed wasn’t.
Last night in New Jersey, Fedor Emelianenko, 34, the myth, stepped into the Strikeforce cage looking to prove he was still the favorite to take the Grand Prix title, again competing in the tournament format he used to shine in – and win in – in Japan, back in the days of the Pride FC event.
But Antonio “Big Foot” Silva had his own plans. With a stalwart mount, efficient takedowns and a cool air about him, the giant from the Brazilian state of Paraiba punished Fedor’s face in the second round. His attempts to slip away and escape the mount were in vain, no longer effective like they were against Minotauro in the days of old (circa 2004).
Against Big Foot, there Fedor stayed. The hammer fists weren’t enough to cause the ref to stop the battle, but they did cause enough damage to the former emperor’s left eye that is closed up completely as the bell ending the second round sounded. Following intervention from the doctor, while Big Foot fought to contain his tears of joy, Fedor spoke through the microphone.
In Russian, he said perhaps it was time. If the Strikeforce gang has its wits about them – like they tend to – they’ll set up a big-money farewell fight.
Now Big Foot forges ahead. The ATT black belt will now face the winner of the April bout between Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem (current heavyweight champion).
In the first fight of the heavyweight GP, Andrei Arlovski was doing well in the standup action and had the crowd behind him. However, Sergei Kharitanov showed why he was at the top of the heap at Pride FC. After landing a punch square to Arlovski’s chin, he pounded away on his downed opponent until the referee stepped in, 2:49 minutes into the opening round.
Two bouts preceding the GP brought loads of excitement. Shane Del Rosario, a Giva Santana student, followed the teachings of his teacher (the king of the armbar) to the T. He did a swell job finishing off Lavar Johnson with the hold 4:31 minutes into the first round and drew applause from the crowd, showing how Jiu-Jitsu is growing in the good graces of the American MMA-viewing public. Now Chad Griggs and Gian Villante went balls to the wall with punches and kicks. Either one of the two could have fallen at any moment and the won who did was Villante, knocked out 2:49 minutes into the opener.
In the first fight of the main card, between two striking specialists, Valentijn Overeem had a surprise in store for Ray Sefo. After a brief standup exchange, Overeem went for the takedown, made it to side control and submitted his quarry in 1:37 minutes of fighting. Props to the Dutchman, who did a good job with his Jiu-Jitsu. Now Sefo could follow suit and take some classes himself.
In a much-anticipated preliminary fight, Igor Gracie left nothing to chance in notching his third MMA win. After a scare from an early knee, Igor landed a sightly takedown, took back mount and ended the first round mounting his opponent. In the second, Gracie got the takedown, mounted and squeezed out an arm-and-neck choke, ending Salgado’s chances, to the joy of his master Renzo, who was cageside.
Check out the complete results:
New Jersey, USA
February 12, 2011
Antonio Pezão defeated Fedor Emelianenko via TKO (doctor’s intervention) in the break after R2
Sergei Kharitonov defeated Andrei Arlovski via TKO at 2:49 min of R1
Shane Del Rosário submitted Lavar Johnson via armbar at 4:31 min of R1
Chad Griggs defeated Gian Villante via TKO at 2:49 min of R1
Valetijn Overeem submitted Ray Sefo via side choke at 1:37 min of R1
John Cholish defeated Marc Stevens via kneebar at 3:27 min of R2
Igor Gracie submitted John Salgado via arm-and-neck choke at 3:04 min of R2
Sam Oropeza defeated Don Carlo-Clauss via TKO at 410 min of R1
Anthony Leone defeated Josh Labarge via TKO (doctor’s intervention) in the break after R1
Jason Maclean defeated Kevin Roddy via split decision