Sunday, January 25, 2009

Have You Ever Heard of Fedor Emelianenko?

Fedor Emelianenko is a son of a b*tch. He's the best damn fighter in the world. Oh yeah, he's a big guy—6'7", 350. I once saw him scissor kick Angela Landsbury. He wears a live rattle snake as a condom. I heard Fedor grew a third arm and keeps it in a vault. He showers in vodka.

To Fedor Emelianenko! A big fella, goes about 7'8", 530. Anyway, he once got his wife pregnant and she gave birth to a delicious 16-ounce steak. The afterbirth was sauteed mushrooms. Fedor's ranked 18th in the AP college football poll. He taught his son to drive by entering him into the Indy 500.

I have no doubt Fedor would be the last man standing in a three-man free-for-all involving the Last Emperor, Bill Brasky (or here), and Chuck Norris.

The man personifies terror if you are an elite mixed martial artist in the heavyweight division. Fedor looks physically soft, is quiet, and shows no emotion whatsoever. He isn't amazingly big in reality and he isn't amazingly fast. He isn't incredibly precise or technically sound.

Of course, none of that matters because another thing he doesn't seem to be is human.

Emelianenko is a machine to which the laws of our universe do not apply.

I've watched almost every fight he's ever had. Yet, the Last Emperor in my mind's eye is about 6'8" and 300 pounds of cut muscle. Despite having seen the real thing on numerous occasions, the truth simply doesn't compute with logic and my brain makes up the difference.

The way he dominates the most talented men in his sports' most colossal weight class demands that he be more to the naked eye. But he's not.

So it's always a shock to see him being towered over by an opponent like Andrei Arlovski. It's always a shock to see him being outstruck by more technical strikers or caught off-guard by tremendous wrestlers (Kevin Randleman anyone?). It's always a shock to find myself thinking how small and vulnerable Fedor looks.

And damn if it isn't always a shock when the Last Emperor finally has had enough and ends the fight.

It took the Last Emperor three Pride fights to become its heavyweight king (and he did it without being propelled by pro wrestling hype). From there, the legend has only grown.

Randleman drove him headfirst into the mat with a crushing suplex, and Fedor didn't even seem to notice. Submitted the Monster about 15 seconds later.

Marko Filopovic landed several kicks that would have killed most mortals. Fedor walked right through them for a unanimous decision over Cro Cop.

In his most recent bout against Arlovski, Fedor was pretty much dominated and had just suffered the most damaging blow yet from the Pitbull (a solid kick to the body that drove Emelianenko several steps backwards). A split-second later and Andrei was out cold, face first on the mat.

His critics will tell you that Fedor was lucky, that the Pitbull's jaw is notoriously weak. The latter may be true, but that right hand would have put anyone down. ANYONE.

Doubt him if you will. But I've learned my lesson.

Next fight, I'll know it's coming. I'll keep telling myself that Fedor is always the smaller man and the more dominant. I'll keep telling myself that, what I think are signs of trouble, seem to be signs the Fedor is right where he wants to be. I'll keep telling myself that's really bad news for his prey.

To Fedor Emelianenko! A 10-foot-tall, two-ton son of a b*tch who could eat a hammer and take a shotgun blast standing!

To the Last Emperor, forever may he reign.

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