Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!
Translated from French, it means “The King is dead, long live the King.” While in literal terms of what happened on Saturday night at Strikeforce, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva won the biggest fight of his career, stopping Fedor Emelianenko after two rounds, which led to the Russian’s shocking statement that his career may have come to an end.
Coming back from the first true loss of his historic career, Fedor Emelianenko stepped into the cage in New Jersey on Saturday night promising a return to form from his glory days spent in Pride Fighting Championships.
There were moments in the fight where Fedor showed flashes of his brilliance, blasting away at Silva’s head, looking for the knockout almost as soon as the first bell rang.
The Russian looked for a guillotine choke early as well, then getting the fight to the ground where he tried to open things up with some of his patented ground and pound, then looking for a kimura before Silva popped out.
It was almost at that moment with the fighters back on their fight that Silva’s immense size difference seemed to shift the momentum directly in his favor. The Brazilian landed a takedown with seconds left to go in the first, and then duplicated the move as the 2nd round opened.
Once on the ground, Silva moved to mount and just started crashing Emelianenko with heavy fists, forcing the former Pride champion to roll just to keep the fight from coming to an end. Repeatedly, Silva dropped bombs on Fedor’s head, and it looked like the fight might be stopped but he showed true heart and battled back just enough to keep alive.
When the round ended, a battered and bruised Emelianenko went back to the corner where cameras showed his right eye completely shut and bruised from swelling endured from Silva’s punches. The doctors saw enough that Emelianenko could not see anything and the fight was stopped.
Silva immediately celebrated the huge win before he headed over to his opponent’s corner where he bowed and kneeled to pay homage to the great former champion.
The hype going into Saturday night was about Fedor’s return, but it was promptly ended by Silva’s dominance. The Brazilian took a huge step forward in his career, while also moving on in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
“All the people say Fedor, Fedor, Fedor. I’m training too hard, and I showed the world now,” Silva said following the victory.
A somber New Jersey crowd cheered as Emelianenko stepped up to the microphone after the fight. Bloodied and bloodied, Fedor explained his performance against Silva, while also alluding to what may have been his final time inside the cage.
“Something happened at the very beginning and maybe I didn’t re-adjust myself,” Fedor said. “Maybe it’s time to leave.”
With a Russian contingency strong in the crowd, obviously heart broken at the thought of losing one of their true legends, Fedor spoke again and contemplated that it may be the end of the road for him in the fight game.
“Yes, maybe, it’s the last time. Maybe it’s high time. Thanks for everything. I spent a great beautiful long sport life. Maybe it’s God’s will,” Fedor spoke about his possible retirement.
“Thank you very much for your love, for your warm reception, for your support. Thanks God for everything.”
If this truly is the end for Fedor Emelianenko, MMA fans may have just watched one of the greatest fighters to ever step foot in the sport, walk away for good.