Recapping Strikeforce/M-1: Fedor vs. Rogers

By JeffGraveline

The reign of “the Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko continues, but not without doubts about how much longer that reign will continue. Fedor was pushed into the second round of a fight for the first time since 2006 and at times looked vulnerable against underdog Brett Rogers at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, IL.

Rogers’ heavy hands caught Fedor early, breaking and cutting his nose, before Fedor took the fight to the ground. While working for a kimura submission, Fedor got reversed by Rogers, who took the opportunity to land several head-rattling shots on Fedor. Fedor regained control in the round before it came to an end but Rogers had proven he belonged in the cage.

“There were no dangerous situations in the fight,” Fedor said, through his translator during a post-fight press conference.

In the second round, Fedor let his hands go, throwing lefts and rights at Rogers, who was backed up against the cage early in the round. As the two men reestablished in the center of the cage, Fedor let loose a devastating right hook that clipped Rogers on the chin. Rogers crumpled to the mat, where Fedor pounced and added several more punches before referee “Big” John McCarthy stepped in to call the fight. Fedor had taken the TKO (technical knock out) victory at 1:48 of the second round in front of a live, national television audience, introducing himself to the American public.

“It was a very good fight,” Emelianenko said. “Brett has a good size that a lot of other fighters did not have. I liked to perform with him.”

Rogers quickly issued a challenge for a rematch against Fedor, saying he would come back “strong and willing to throw his hands more,” if there was another fight between the two.

In the only title bout on the Strikeforce/M-1 card, Jake Shields took on Jason “Mayhem” Miller in a five-round tilt. Shields took Miller down at will during the fight, locking up Miller and executing a controlling game plan.

Miller was only able to mount one serious offensive threat during the fight, late in the third round. As Miller took Shields’ back, he sunk in a tight rear naked choke. Shields escaped the choke when the bell sounded to end the round, allowing Shields to continue the fight.

“I thought I did [get the tap] because my corner was like, ‘He tapped, he tapped,’”  Miller said. “He looked like he was sleeping, but he was fine. Then we got up and went into the fourth round for some more snuggling.”

Shields would manage to recover from the choke and continue to dominate on the mat, eventually winning a unanimous decision and the lightweight title belt.

“It wasn’t my best fight, Mayhem was tough and he hung in there. I wish I could have put him away,” Shields said.

The Gegard Mousasi vs. Sokoudjou bout was the only other fight on the main card that was stopped before the decision, as Sokoudjou tapped due to strikes at 3:43 in the second round. Mousasi controlled much of the fight, never really getting into trouble against Sokoudjou.

In the first fight of the night that aired on CBS, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva took on Fabricio Werdum in a heavyweight bout. Both men traded punches early in the fight, landing startling blows that eventually landed Werdum on his back. Werdum recovered in time to make it out of the round and push the action in the second and third rounds. As both men tired late in the fight it was Werdum who took home the unanimous decision victory over “Bigfoot.”

“This fight is a very nice fight, “Bigfoot” is a great fighter,” Werdum said, during the press conference, before asking to fight Fedor. “Fedor is the best fighter in the world, maybe it’s my turn to fight him, to fight Fedor.”