by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
If there’s one person that’s familiar with big time fights and the two participants in tonight’s match-up between PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko and challenger Mark Coleman, it’s Bas Rutten.
Over his fighting career, Rutten competed in some of the biggest matches on the biggest stages and then later as a commentator for PRIDE he called nearly all of Fedor and Coleman’s matches.
So it is that when MMAWeekly recently spoke to Bas between training sessions that Rutten would be the man to ask about tonight’s main event fight at PRIDE: The Real Deal.
“Well Mark Coleman since the last time he fought against Fedor [at Total Elimination 2004] he should have stepped up his submission game real bad,” said Bas of his first impressions of the fight. “I think he really needs to do that, because he’s known for his takedowns and ground ‘n pound, but it’s going to be very difficult to knock Fedor out with the ground ‘n pound.”
Rutten continued, “Fedor is all the time dangerous with the submissions, like last time with the armbar when they fought, he got that on unbelievably fast. So I hope that Mark trained a lot on that.”
Not only does Bas feel that the submission game is very important for Coleman in this match, he also feels that positioning could play a key factor in determining the outcome.
“I hope he also trained on passing the guard and going to side mount,” explained Rutten. “That’s a better position because Mark has phenomenal wrestling skills and he can keep Fedor on the ground once in side mount and once in full side mount there are more things he can do.”
“Mark’s biggest weapon is the takedown, which is always very good, but he needs to pass that guard, I truly believe so. Otherwise he needs to pull something out of a hat, something new, to surprise Fedor. Crazy stuff, maybe elbows to the thighs to get Fedor’s attention, then start the ground ‘n pound. He’s done some crazy stuff before, like when he won the first tournament [in 2000], and Fedor is Fedor, but don’t count Mark out,” added Bas.
For PRIDE’s first show on US soil the company will be forced to eliminate the four-point attacks that are what separates it from the American MMA product. No kneeing, kicking, or stomping to the head will be allowed in any of the fights when a fighter is deemed down on the canvas.
When asked how he feels the rules changes may affect the fight Rutten replied, “I think in this particular fight those rules aren’t going to be a main factor. Those rules with no stomping are going to be bigger problems for Chute Boxe [fighter Mauricio “Shogun” Rua], because they make it a big part of their game. So I think the limitations for the kicks, knees and stomps will affect Chute Boxe, not Fedor and Mark.”
As for the outcome of tonight’s main event fight, Rutten feels that in the end that the champion will once again be victorious.
“Fedor, his ground and pound, he took it to the next level and his camp is so good in coming up with gameplans so I’m sure he’s going to rain down some heavy shots,” said Bas. “So yes, I think so [that Fedor will win].”
“But like I said all the time, it’s MMA, if you make one little mistake things can happen, and Fedor has made mistakes, like against Kazuyuki Fujita [at PRIDE 26], so if Mark can capitalize on that and the adrenaline starts going he might land something and be able to pull off a knockout. But if you look at the overall picture, yeah Fedor looks pretty much unbeatable,” concluded Rutten.