Fedor Vladimirovich Emelianenko (aka “The Last Emperor”) was born 28th September, 1976, in Russia and is a heavyweight mixed martial artist with a stellar record of 39-6. The 44 year-old has fought in multiple elite organizations throughout his career such as PRIDE, Strikeforce, Affliction, Rizin and Bellator MMA.
During his time through these organizations, Fedor has been able to accumulate a legendary resumé with notable wins over Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir, Pedro Rizzo, Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Mark Hunt, Mark Coleman, Mirko Cro Cop, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Kevin Randleman, holding one of the most impressive records in the MMA world.
Over his career, Fedor has achieved multiple incredible accomplishments such as: PRIDE Heavyweight Champion with three successful title defences; PRIDE 2004 Heavyweight World Grand Prix Champion WAMMA Heavyweight Champion; 3-time FIAS World Combat Sambo Championships Gold Medalist (2002, 2005, 2007); 2-time Judo Bronze medalist at the Russian Championships 1998, 1999, and a 27-fight win streak against the best MMA heavyweights.
MMAFighting.com awarded Fedor the 2003, 2004 and 2005 Heavyweight of the Year. Therefore, it was no surprise when Fedor was also awarded the prestigious award of 2000’s Fighter of the Decade by multiple sources; Bleacher Report, About.com, FIGHT! Magazine and Sports Illustrated.
The Last Emperor’s fighting style is that of an all-round fighter, being highly versatile in all areas of MMA, highlighted by his even split of 15 KO’s and 15 submission victories; however, Fedor’s MMA career was bolstered by his background in Sambo in which he is a 3-time world champion and multiple-time Russian champion as well as earning 2 bronze medals in the Russian Judo championships.
This extensive background in sambo and judo gave Fedor a massive advantage over his opponents and, combined with ruthless, stand-up skill and one-punch knockout power, made Fedor one gigantic problem for MMA’s heavyweight division.
As Fedor demonstrated, his stand-up skill was also at a supreme level; he KO’d elite strikers such as Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Pedro Rizzo, and Andrei Arlovski and was able, at times to outstrike MMA’s best kickboxer of all time in Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ in a unanimous decision victory – a fight that was rated 2000’s Fight of the Decade.
‘The Last Emperor’ was also infamous for implementing his style whilst expressing almost no emotion under the highest of pressure situations portraying a stoic look against even the greatest of competitors.
Fedor started his professional MMA career in 2000 and debuted in RINGS, a Japanese combat sport promotion and won in the first round via guillotine choke. Fedor went on to have a 4-0 start to his professional career before suffering his first defeat with his fifth fight in a controversial loss against Tsuyoshi Kosaka due to a cut, just 17 seconds into the bout.
However, Fedor went on to win 6 straight at RINGS and won the RINGS 2001 Absolute Class Tournament Final against Chris Haseman; this win gave Fedor his chance to debut in the iconic PRIDE organization.
In 2002 Fedor made his debut in PRIDE 21 against Semmy Schilt, where he won via unanimous decision, and in just three fights into his PRIDE career, Fedor won the PRIDE Heavyweight Championship against Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Fedor went on with 4 straight finishes leading up to the 2004 PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix in which he took out legends, including a first round finish of Mark Coleman, then a first round finish of Kevin Randleman in the quarterfinal.
Fedor continued his first-round win streak in the semi-final of the PRIDE tournament as he finished Naoya Ogawa in under a minute, and on 31st December, 2004, Fedor defeated Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira in the final of the PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix Final and retained his Heavyweight Championship.
In 2005, a legendary matchup was arranged between Fedor and Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ for a fight that had long been in the making but never came to fruition, and a year on since ‘Cro Cop’ took out Alexander Emelianenko (Fedor’s younger brother) The Last Emperor was on the hunt for vengeance.
In a 3-round slug fest, Fedor earned a unanimous decision victory in a fight slated as 2000’s Fight of the Decade. Here, Fedor put his stamp on being the best MMA heavyweight.
December 31st, 2006 would mark the end of a 4-year stint within PRIDE as Fedor defended his Heavyweight title against Mark Hunt, taking him out within the first round via submission ending his PRIDE journey on a high.
After bouncing around between different organizations, Fedor joined Affliction and his debut with them, against Tim Sylvia, took just 36 seconds, closing the show with a rear-naked choke to win the WAMMA Heavyweight title and 2008’s Submission of the Year.
In his next fight, Emelianenko took on Andrei Arlovski, where he scored the Knockout of the Year with a one-punch KO in the first round defending his WAMMA title. Later on in the year, Fedor debuted in Strikeforce against Brett Rogers where a second round TKO took Fedor’s historic win streak to its peak (27).
However, after this, Emelianenko suffered 3 straight losses in Strikeforce against Fabrício Werdum, Antônio Silva, and Dan Henderson, and decided to move on. He put together a 5-fight win streak as he fought in different organizations before signing with Bellator.
The Last Emperor took on Matt Mitrione and came upon the losing end in a peculiar finish as both fighters were knocked down at the same time, -looking reminiscent of Rocky vs Apollo Creed- yet it was Mitrione who was the quickest to recover to get the finish.
As Bellator announced a Heavyweight tournament filled with MMA ROYALTY, Fedor took on former UFC Champion Frank Mir in the Grand Prix Quarterfinal and in only 48 seconds, KO’d Mir and moved on to the semi-final of the Grand Prix. Here, Fedor took on Chael Sonnen and once again made quick work with a first round TKO to take him to the final of the Grand Prix against Ryan Bader.
Unfortunately, Fedor came up short, and Bader won in quick fashion with a 35-second TKO finish; however, Fedor bounced back in his most recent fight with a first round TKO against ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
Fedor hasn’t fought since December 2019, but looks to make his return as Bellator announce his return for October 23rd in Moscow; however, an opponent is not yet confirmed. Fabricio Werdum has made it clear that he wants the Fedor rematch in Russia to make it 2-0 as he states: ‘Fedor was never the GOAT’.
Fedor has undoubtedly cemented himself as one of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history but one of the biggest ‘what if’s?’ is what would have happened if Fedor fought in the UFC? A title? How many defenses?
Dana White and the UFC were linked with Fedor throughout the years but were never quite able to get a deal done, even a Brock Lesnar super fight was on the cards. Dana White even stated in 2010, “He has become my obsession. I want it (him in the UFC) worse than the fans want it.”
Despite Fedor never fighting in the UFC he is still a legend with a career very few can hold a candle to, but all MMA fans alike can dream about seeing ‘The Last Emperor’ step inside UFC’s octagon and simply envisage what damage could be wrought!
Now that you have the background on ‘The Last Emperor’s’ career, let’s get wrestling with Fedor Emelianenko’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Pedro Rizzo – M-1 Global (June 21, 2012)
Fedor took on the great Pedro Rizzo, an outstanding kickboxer with 30 KO’s as a kickboxer and also an excellent grappler with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. But, despite all these credentials, they would not be enough to overcome ‘The Last Emperor’.
At 35 seconds into round 1, a Fedor jab to a left hook briefly wobbles Rizzo, yet Rizzo recovers quickly and prevents Fedor from inflicting any further damage. However, at 1:15 in, Fedor lands a thudding leg kick followed by a switch step, right hook that drops Rizzo to the floor. Immediately afterwards, Fedor leaps on top as he smashes down strikes causing Rizzo’s head to bounce off the canvas. The referee had seen enough, and stops the fight at 1:24 of round 1.
The Last Emperor proved his fabled status once again as it was Fedor who got the KO against a high-level kickboxer, and a year on since undergoing a 3-fight losing streak, displayed that he was an elite Heavyweight who could still mix it with the very best.
4. Vs. Frank Mir – Bellator 198 (April 28, 2018)
This was a meeting of all-time Heavyweight MMA legends, between former UFC Champion Mir and Former PRIDE and WAMMA Champion Fedor, in Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinal.
In round 1, Mir comes out feinting heavy, and at 10 seconds in, throws a leg kick to mask his darting blitz with a straight left, and right hook that briefly decks Fedor, as Mir begins to unload heavy artillery.
Next, they clinch, and the Sambo champion Fedor, throws Mir to the floor but quickly gets up to avoid the nasty ground game that Mir possesses.
At 30 seconds in, Fedor backs Mir up to the cage and begins to fire lethal knees to his body.
Mir looks to turn the tables and tries to push forward, throwing combinations but leaves himself vulnerable, overextending with an overhand left 45 seconds in, which is countered with a straight right hand on the temple, knocking him to the floor. Stunning uppercuts close the show, just 48 seconds into round 1.
In a long-overdue matchup, it took only 48 seconds for Fedor to take out the former UFC champ with a MIRaculous performance allowing him to progress to the semi-final of Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix.
3. Vs. Kevin Randleman – Pride CC (June 20, 2004)
In the 2004 PRIDE, Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal, Fedor took on Kevin Randleman, an excellent wrestler and former two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion with a superb array of suplexes which Fedor would come to experience.
In round 1, at 15 seconds, Randleman darts in and latches on to a double leg and lifts Fedor into the air and slams him to the ground, however, by the 40-second mark Fedor fairly quickly scrambled back to his feet when Randleman took a body lock and suplexed Fedor over his head!
Although a massively popular move in the sport of wresting, (made popular by the likes of WWE legends, Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle) this was one of MMA’s most iconic moments. Fedor lands on his neck, which looks like it could have easily been snapped.
Fedor remains conscious however, and is cognizant enough to reverse the position to take top control, whereupon he begins to pound Randleman’s head. At 1:30 in, Fedor looks to control Randleman’s left arm and locks in a Kimura, forcing Randleman to tap at 1:33 of round 1.
After being sent to suplex city (one of the most high-impact moves due to its whiplashing effect), Fedor snatched a win from the jaws of defeat and progressed to the semi-final of the 2004 PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix.
2. Vs. Tim Sylvia – Affliction: Banned (July 19, 2008)
Fedor offered up his 24-fight win streak against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia in his first defense of his WAMMA Championship. It wouldn’t take more than a minute for Fedor to swiftly notch number 25 on his win streak.
In round 1, at 15 seconds in, Fedor throws a jumping left hook that lands him in the clinch with the giant Sylvia. This allows Fedor the opportunity to unbolt thunderous, ripping uppercuts followed by hellish hooks that deck Sylvia.
As Fedor looks to end the fight, Sylvia turtles up, as Fedor takes his back and locks in a deep, rear-naked choke causing Sylvia to tap at just 36 seconds of round 1.
So, in 36 seconds, Fedor was able to take out the former UFC Heavyweight Champion and earn himself the Submission of the Year (2008), alongside the WAMMA Heavyweight Championship.
1. Vs. Andrei Arlovski – Affliction: DOR (Jan. 24, 2009)
After taking his legendary win streak to 25 after winning Submission of the Year (2008) in 36 seconds against Tim Sylvia, Fedor looked to make it 26 against former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Andrei Arlovski.
In round 1, at 1:10 in, Fedor blitzes forward, falling into the clinch and begins to throw body shots using his knee. At 2:30, the fighters are separated for inactivity.
At 3 minutes, Arlovski catches Fedor with a flush right hand on the chin that stumbles him backwards. Arlovski then opts to jump in with a flying knee which is countered with an overhand right from Fedor that immediately separates Arlovski from consciousness at 3:14 of round 1.
Another former UFC champion was added to the record. Fedor defended the WAMMA Heavyweight Championship and also earned the Knockout of the Year (2009), after coming off his last victory for which he won Submission of the Year (2008).
This win extended Fedor’s undefeated streak to 26, 9 years since his last loss which was long becoming a distant memory…
So, there we have it, folks, 5 of Fedor Emelianenko’s best MMA finishes!
Where do you say ‘The Last Emperor’ ranks among the all-time elite heavyweights? Would you like to see a rematch vs Fabricio Werdum – who do you think would win? Can Fedor make a title challenge this late in his career? What’s your favourite fight moment from ‘The Last Emperor’, from the list above?
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