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Werdum Hands Fedor Emelianenko First Loss

Fedor Emelianenko tapped out to Fabricio Werdum Fedor Emelianenko tapped out to Fabricio Werdum

The world’s #1 ranked heavyweight MMA fighter may not come out on top of that poll the next time it’s published. Fedor Emelianenko suffered what is considered his first legitimate loss on Saturday when he tapped out to Fabricio Werdum’s triangle armbar submission at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum.

Fedor’s critics have long suggested that the Russian fighter, once the heavyweight division’s most dominant combatant, has become overrated due to his unwillingness to take on top ranked fighters. Indeed, even Werdum was cut by the UFC due to his poor win-loss record with that organization.

Maybe the critics were right.

But it didn’t look that way at first, as Fedor stalked Werdum down and tagged him with a series of punches in an exchange. Werdum hit the canvas and Fedor went in for the kill. His recklessness on the mat was his undoing.

Werdum tried to wrap up a triangle, but Fedor shrugged him off. That might have made Fedor overconfident because he did little to fend off the next triangle attempt.

After surviving the triangle choke, Fedor got caught in Werdum’s transition to the armbar, and soon signaled his defeat with a single tap to Werdum’s thigh. Referee John McCarthy lept in immediately, and the fight was over, delivering one of MMA’s biggest shocks of the year.

Also on the card was a women’s championship match between Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and challenger Jan Finney. Cyborg dominated this fight exactly as she has done in every other one of her fights. After suffering a hellacious beating that had ringside commentators calling for a referee stoppage, Finney managed to survive until the middle of the second round, when the ref mercifully stepped in.

Cyborg walks away with another TKO win, and still looks miles above any fighter Strikeforce has been able to find for her.

Cung Le and Scott Smith met for their highly anticipated rematch, and this time there was no miracle comeback. Le controlled the fight just as he did the first time, but exercised more patience, not allowing Smith a chance to land one of his big strikes.

After a decisive first round, Le landed the knockout blow with a spinning back kick to Smith’s midsection. Smith hit the canvas in the fetal position, and refused to fight as Le landed a couple more blows. The referee stepped in and Le was awarded the KO.

On a night of fast-paced mixed martial arts action, Fedor Emelianenko suffering his first legitimate loss will forever be remembered as the moment that defines Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum. The coming weekend’s UFC battle between heavyweights Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar will do much to determine a new #1 heavyweight in the world. What’s next for Fedor is anyone’s guess, but he has another fight on his contract, which means MMA fans will get to see “the Last Emperor” make an attempt to bounce back from the most shocking night of his career.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 09:12

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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