5 Emelianenko vs. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka II
This was the first man to defeat Fedor and everybody knew that it was a fraudulent victory for Kohsaka. The illegal elbow that he used to cut Emelianenko should have resulted in a no-decision and it took four grueling years to get the rematch. At Pride Bushido 6 on April 3, 2005,Emelianenko closed that chapter of his MMA career by stopping Kohsaka in the first round. It erased the bogus loss in his record in the minds of all MMA enthusiasts. And Fedor proved to everybody that he was legitimately undefeated.
4 Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia
Since Emelianenko was not competing in the UFC due to contract complications, many were questioning the legitimacy of this Russian “manimal”. They questioned his level of opposition and they questioned whether he could be the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Those who questioned him (they were asinine for even having the audacity to question “The Last Emperor”) wanted to see him fight a UFC Champion in order to prove that he was the real Lineal Champion. At the time, the UFC did not have the semi-monopoly in MMA that they do now, therefore all of the top fighters were not controlled by Dana White. Emelianenko had not fought anybody worthy in almost two years (it seemed that many were avoiding him) and that added fuel to the haters’ fire. The event was Affliction: Banned on July 19, 2008 against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia, who had held the belt for over a year. It only took 36 seconds for Emelianenko to submit Sylvia with a rear naked choke. Lesson learned; do not ever question Fedor’sgame.
3 Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski
Emelianenko was beginning to look mortal at this point. Arlovski was a former UFC Heavyweight Champion with a great looking resume, not to mention he looked completely ripped! Arlovski was four inches taller and weighed seven more pounds than Emelianenko —all muscle! Arlovski came out fast when the bell rang. He was very active and had a big advantage in hand speed. He was controlling the whole round easily with his hands as Emelianenko struggled to keep pace. At the 1:50 mark of the first round Arlovski got a little too confident an attempted a reckless flying knee. Emelianenko landed a concussion-destined right hand that landed flush on Arlovski’s chin and knocked him out cold; face down, ass up. It was the knockout of the year. The long-lasting image of Arlovski’s contorted body with his arms on his sides is the reason this fight is number three on this list.
2 Emelianenko vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
This was his shot at the Pride Heavyweight Championship on March 16, 2003 at Pride 25: Body Blow. Emelianenko had not lost in his first 15 fights and looked completely unstoppable. It was only his third Pride fight but he was already well known and expectations were already set high. It was a matchup of two elite fighters in their primes and Emelianenko did not disappoint in the decision victory. He used his world class ground and pound to perfection and every punch he landed in the process was thudding. He took the Pride Championship forcefully from Nogueira and went on defend it successfully 19 times. This was in essence, his coming out party.
1 Emelianenko vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
This epic war was awarded the fight of the decade by Sports Illustrated, enough said. It was Pride Final Conflict, August 28, 2005. It pitted the two most feared Heavyweight strikers in Pride in a highly anticipated matchup. Emelianenko came out stalking “Cro Cop” in the first round and controlled the pace. Then “Cro Cop” landed a straight left that buckled Emelianenko’s knees and even caused him to do a little dance halfway through the round. “Cro Cop” tried to capitalize but was too wild with his attack and ended up slipping and Emelianenko took full advantage. He mounted him and used an effective ground and pound for the remainder of the round. “Cro Cop” was visibly tired after the first round and Emelianenko noticed. He came out and rushed “Cro Cop” and landed some heavy punches. “Cro Cop” landed some of his lethal kicks (he without a doubt had the best kicks in MMA) and it forced Emelianenko to back off and show him some respect. Round two was more strategic and ended with Emelianenko mounting “Cro Cop” with two minutes left. To his credit, “Cro Cop” defended himself very well from his back. In the final round Emelianenko just physically beat up “Cro Cop”. He took him down three separate times and ground and pounded him for the majority of the round. At the time this was the biggest fight of Emelianenko’s career and he won it decisively.
“The Last Emperor” is undeniably the greatest heavyweight in MMA history. Unfortunately he never had the opportunity to showcase his talents in the UFC because of issues with his contract and sheer MMA/UFC politics (sounds like boxing). Many MMA fans from the states did not get to see this true legend in his prime as he dominated the sport for 10 years. He proved his pedigree time and time again. His fights were always worth the price of admission, and some. Fedor carried the sport for a long time and he will always be recognized for that. These are Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko’s Top 5 Fights. Wouldn’t you agree?