The most competitive sport, which has some of the most dedicated athletes who train hard on a daily basis to master the craft – this is the definition of MMA nowadays. Although, according to some, the sport is dangerous, let’s be honest – watching fights excites people, it is in our DNA. Don’t believe us? Think of gladiator fights – you can’t deny that they were the most exciting shows in the Roman Republic, visited by the Roman emperors themselves. MMA channels the purest form of eagerness to defeat another person, and this is the reason why fighters devote their lives to the discipline.
Along with MMA’s rising popularity around the world, punters’ appetite for MMA sports betting also grows at a rapid pace. Following that, ensuring high MMA and Boxing Odds and a wide variety of markets are among the bookmakers’ primary goals. With MMA being an individual sport, the odds are based on fighters’ current form. Although the matches last less than half an hour, athletes dedicate months for preparation in order to grab the win and the huge prize fund that comes with it.
Many fighters today aim to reach the starry level of Fedor Emelianenko – the all-time greatest MMA fighter, according to many experts and fans. An enigmatic big man with the speed and punching power of a predatory Russian bear, Emelianenko has been widely recognised by media as Sports Illustrated defined him as one of the top MMA fighters of the 2000s. Furthermore, former combat sports fighters and legends such as Chuck Norris and Mike Tyson named him the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. The fact that he ranks in the Top 20 List of the World’s Richest MMA fighters with $18 Million net worth is yet another proof of Fedor’s high class in the discipline. Born in 1976 in the Soviet Union, the Russian heavyweight MMA fighter’s martial arts journey started with judo and sambo. Emelianenko began his mixed martial arts career as a member of the Russian Top Team (RTT), where he trained under the mentorship of Volk Han and Andrei Kopylov. His debut in MMA was in May 2000 with four straight victories. According to analysts and fans, Emelianenko, nicknamed The Last Emperor, is a major piece of MMA’s history as he is one of those men who paved the discipline’s way and helped to take the ragtag cage fighting to become an actual sport, admired by millions.
But what makes him so unique? Firstly, Emelianenko is the longest-reigning heavyweight lineal champion as after a debated loss in December 2000, he was unbeaten until June 2010, championing a total of 28 fights. Throughout his career, he has won consecutive MMA’s Pride Fighting Championships from 2003 to 2007, and defeated notable opponents including one Pride FC champion, two Olympic medalists, one former and two future K-1 champions, and four former UFC champions, namely Andrei Arlovski, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman and Tim Sylvia. In addition, Emelianenko won numerous MMA accolades, including the 2008 Submission/Beatdown of the Year, the 2009 Knockout of the Year, The Heavyweight of the Year for 2003, 2004, and 2005, the 2005 Fighter of the Year, and the 2000s Fight of the Decade. Besides MMA, Emelianenko became a heavyweight champion of the FIAS World Combat Sambo Championship and a bronze medalist at the Russian Judo Federation National Championship. Fedor is considered one of the most well-rounded MMA fighters as he has developed an unrivalled combination of skill set which include powerful striking, master counter punches, and quickness. Besides, his fighting style has outstanding features such as devastating ground and pound from open guard and smart footwork. His experience in other martial arts gives him further advantage in MMA as he uses throwing techniques from judo and sambo to bring his opponent to the ground. Largely crushing adversaries since 2000, Fedor is so confident in his skills that he even allows his rivals to choose their fighting style.
Undisputedly, Emelianenko has the ability to beat strong competitors in their strongest domain as he has some impressive victories over memorable combatants of the 2000s like Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Minotauro Nogueira. According to many industry observers, the fight between Emelianenko and the former kickboxer Cro Cop for the Pride Heavyweight Title, held in August of 2005 in Japan was „a clash of the titans”, and is still one of the greatest mixed martial arts bout, which can be used as a tutorial for young MMA fighters. From the second round onwards, Fedor dominated the match both on the feet and on the ground and proved that he has world-class striking, which secured him the win via unanimous decision.
Even though he has never fought in the globe’s premier MMA company UFC, the fact that some people point out when arguing that his “greatest MMA fighter of all-time” title is controversial, he did not lose a single fight for an entire decade, and this achievement can’t be ignored in any league. The truth is that although Emelianenko’s legacy is a much-discussed topic, he is a one-of-a-kind legend who was the first to excel in all areas of mixed martial arts.
In June 2012, Fedor Emelianenko announced his retirement, however, in July 2015, after a three-year break from MMA, he confirmed that he would be returning to active competition. Up to date, The Last Emperor is fighting for Bellator MMA, and his last fight, which he won via first-round knockout, was held in December 2019 against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Emelianenko’s next match is not determined yet, and at this moment, it is difficult to say who his next opponent will be. Currently, he is in what Bellator names a “retirement tour” and in an ideal scenario, he will fight once again in the US and then will have a final fight in his homeland Russia. Old-school fans believe that he still has the needed skills to give a spectacular show and are they are eagerly waiting for his future clashes.