What Fedor Emelianenko and Chuck Liddell have in common

Fedor Emelianenko weighs in for what he says may have been his last fight. Photo credit: Esther Lin/Strikeforce

No, I don’t think Fedor Emelianenko should retire like Chuck Liddell did last year. Fedor flirted with the idea after suffering his second consecutive loss on this past Saturday night, but I don’t think he should retire at the moment.

I picked Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva to beat Fedor via TKO in rd. 2 this past weekend.  I’m not a genius, nor did I get lucky, but I’ve simply been paying attention to Emelianenko’s fighting habits.  Here’s what I wrote in the staff predictions comments section prior to the fight, explaining my pick:

I think Silva certainly has the tools to beat Fedor..he’s huge…has power…and has a legit ground game as well…Fedor hasn’t fought in like 10 months…cage rust is real.

Not to mention…Fedor has become pretty one dimensional in the past 3 years or so…he’s basically a head-hunter nowadays…sure he can still grapple, etc.

He just doesn’t do it anymore.

That’s exactly what Fedor Emelianenko and Chuck Liddell have in common, they became one dimensional head-hunters in the latter part of their careers.  Both throw huge looping, powerful punches that can put anyone away on any given night if they connect.

Once fighters began to realize this, they adapted and eventually the things that used to work no longer were as effective for Fedor and Liddell.

Let’s take a look back at Fedor’s last 5 fights:

-Against Tim Sylvia, Fedor got the win rather quickly as he hit Sylvia with huge looping punches.  Sylvia couldn’t recover once the fight hit the ground, and Fedor sunk in the rear naked choke for the win.

-Against Andrei Arlovski, Fedor got out-struck for the majority of the first round by the more technical striking Arlovski.  The big looping punches that Fedor threw missed their mark for the most part.  That is until a huge over-hand right connected and put Arlovski to sleep at 3:14 of the first round.

-Against Brett Rogers, Fedor got tested in this fight as Rogers was able to take him down and unleash some pretty devastating ground and pound.  Fedor was able to reverse him or get back to his feet at times.  However, Emelianenko’s primary weapons were his hands, as he threw those quick looping punches that finally connected in the second round to put Rogers away.

-Agaisnt Fabricio Werdum, it was the same game-plan for Emelianenko.  He came out guns blazing throwing those huge haymakers, and thinking he had hurt Werdum, followed him down to the mat where he was promptly submitted.

-Against Silva, it was deja vu as Fedor threw nothing but huge looping punches.  There was no threat of a take-down of any sorts.  Granted, Silva out-weighed him by fifty pounds and has legitimate skills on the ground.  I can understand wanting to keep this fight standing.  However, Silva had a huge reach advantage so it would have been wise to mix in some leg kicks or at least the threat of a take-down.  Silva ducked a huge punch in the beginning of the second round and took Fedor down with a perfectly timed shot.  He got top position and dominated Emelianenko for the entire round, causing the doctor to stop the fight at the end of the round.

So as you look back, you’ll see that Fedor had become pretty one dimensional as a fighter.  As good as he is, he still needs to evolve to compete with top heavyweights.

I don’t think Fedor should retire. If you watched Fedor’s fight against Silva, you still were able to witness the tremendous explosion with every punch from Fedor.  I mean, he is still unbelievably quick at almost 35  years of age.  He still has a good chin as evident from a shot he took from Silva on Saturday night.  It stopped Fedor in his tracks, but he never wobbled or seemed like he was hurt from the punch.  So unlike Liddell, Fedor’s skills have not deteriorated noticeably at this time.

Fedor simply needs to game-plan better and possibly switch up his training.  I read that he said that he trained for the Silva fight just like all the other fights he had trained for.  That type of training worked back in the day, but if you are the best fighter in your camp, then how can you get better?

Liddell reportedly tried to switch up his training near the end of his career, but he was not able to overcome the bad habits he had created throughout his career.  If Emelianenko continues to fight, let’s hope he learns from the mistakes that Liddell made.  Otherwise, being a one dimensional fighter near the end of his career will not be the only thing he has in common with Liddell.

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