EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – MMA fans may have just seen Fedor Emelianenko in a ring or cage for the last time.
After a stunning doctor stoppage just before the third round of the main event added a second straight loss to the record of Emelianenko, Fedor announced that he may be retiring.
It was a dramatic end to a stunning night of action between Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Fedor Emelianenko in the main event to kick off the 2011 Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Fedor started fast in the bout, throwing a barrage of wild combinations, along with his patented overhand right. Silva seemed unconcerned with the power of Fedor early, stalking the MMA legend, closing the distance and putting his back against the cage.
After a stall in the action, the referee separated the fighters, but once again, Silva went to the clinch game against the cage. After a brief separation, both fighters threw a flurry of punches before Silva leaned on Fedor again against the cage.
Fedor worked a standing guillotine, then put Silva on his back, before diving into the guard of the Brazilian and looking to land some ground-and-pound. Fedor then isolated an arm looking for a kimura, but Silva defended nicely, scrambled, then made his way back to his feet.
Silva managed to get a take down of his own with about 10 seconds remaining in the first round. Before Silva could inflict any significant damage, round 1 was in the books.
After a close first round, the second round would prove to be a dominating one for Silva.
Fedor struck first, throwing an overhand right to start the round. Silva deftly ducked under the punch and put Fedor on his back.
Silva quickly moved to side control, to a north-south position, then to side control on the opposite side, before gaining full mount. From there, the big man rained down punishment from above, battering the face of Fedor with straight punches and crushing hammer fists.
Fedor tried desperately to escape, rolling and exposing his back several times, defending against rear naked choke attempts, and then strikes once he was on his back again. Silva then isolated the right arm of Fedor and locked up a tight arm triangle that unbelievably, Fedor survived.
Silva continued the onslaught of submission attempts, grabbing a leg and extending it in a knee bar attempt. As the seconds ticked down on the second stanza, it appeared that Fedor may finally be put away. Fedor somehow escaped again and grabbed the ankle of Silva looking for a submission of his own as the bell sounded on the second round.
The crowd was in a frenzy as the fighters made their way back to their respective corners, but confusion soon broke out as the referee announced in the cage that the fight was over.
As boos erupted in the crowd, it was explained that the damage to Fedor’s eye was so severe that he no longer had vision in his right eye.
It was officially ruled a doctor stoppage, and the win for Silva advances him to the semi-finals of the Grand Prix.
“I trained hard for this fight with my camp,” Silva said. “All the people say, ‘Fedor, Fedor, Fedor.’ I trained too hard, and I showed it to the world now. I want the best heavyweights in the world.”
Even more stunning than the loss, was what Fedor said after the fight.
“Something went wrong from the very beginning, and I couldn’t readjust myself. Maybe it’s time to leave,” said Fedor.
Scott Coker said after the fight that Fedor could be a replacement in the Grand Prix if he so desired, but it seems unlikely at this point.
Instead, if Fedor holds true to talks of retirement, it may mark the end of the storied and legendary MMA career of one of the greatest of all time.
Sergei Kharitonov KO’s Arlovski
But in MMA, fast starts do not always translate to victories.
Kharitonov kept coming forward, landing uppercuts in tight quarters, and then uncorked a counter right hand that staggered Arlovski.
Kharitonov followed up the right hand with a flush uppercut, then a winging right hand that put Arlovski on his back. Once there, Kharitonov stood over the open guard of Arlovski and delivered a right hand, then a sleep inducing left, that put Arlovski completely out on the canvas.
The win advances Sergei Kharitonov (18-4 MMA, 1-0 SF) to the semi-finals of the 2011 Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Shane Del Rosario remains undefeated
After some good exchanges to start the fight, it was Johnson that earned the first take down of the fight, as he put Del Rosario on his back early. Del Rosario sustained little damage from his back, showing off a good defensive guard before kicking off and getting back to his feet.
Del Rosario then came forward with a big left hand, followed by a head kick to set up a single let take down attempt. Johnson showed little resistance, giving up a relatively easy take down to Del Rosario.
Del Rosario landed in side mount and wasted little time working to full mount, punishing Johnson with his ground and pound game. Johnson had no answer for the high mount that Del Rosario advanced to, and with time running out on the first stanza, Del Rosario attacked the extended arm of Johnson.
Del Rosario transitioned from the mount to an armbar, and within moments the tap came, moving Del Rosario to 11-0 in his young MMA career.
Griggs derails the hype train of Villante
Griggs found a home early and often for his overhand right, and when the fight went to the clinch, he was effective with uppercuts right up the middle.
Villante did land back-to-back head kicks that may have turned the tide for him, but after a referee stoppage for Villante to put his mouthpiece back in, Griggs dropped the prospect with a big right hand.
Griggs (10-1 MMA, 2-0 SF) followed Villante to the mat and delivered 4 more big punches for good measure before the referee could step in and stop the action.
Valentijn, the other Overeem wins in 1:37
There was no secret that Valentijn Overeem had a significant experience advantage over Ray Sefo, who only had 2 MMA fights coming into tonight’s event. It was also no secret that the best way for Overeem to win fast, would be to submit Sefo.
That is exactly what he did, and it took less than 2 minutes.
Sefo landed the better of the shots in the stand up game, peppering Overeem with stiff jabs and nice counter right hands. Unfortunately for Sefo, he quickly found himself on his back just over a minute into the bout.
Once there, Overeem (29-25 MMA, 1-0 SF) grabbed the neck of Sefo and cranked, and the tap was almost immediate.