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Tag: Fabricio Werdum

Rankings Spotlight: MMA’s Top 5 Heavyweights

Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez MMA photos UFC 121
(“I don’t like ‘queer street’. Write that down in your little notebook.”)

In the aftermath of Fedor Emelianenko‘s upset loss to Antonio Silva last weekend — four months after Brock Lesnar was roughly stripped of his UFC title by Cain Velasquez — MMA’s global heavyweight picture is in a state of flux. So, we figured it was a good time to launch a new rankings feature on CagePotato. Every week, Ben, Mike and Chad will try to justify their top five rankings for each weight division, and we’re kicking things off with the big boys. Check out our thoughts below, and let us know how you see MMA’s current heavyweight top five…

Ben Goldstein
1. Cain Velasquez: I think we can all agree he’s the top dog right now. In one fight, Brock Lesnar’s reputation went from “toughest S.O.B. on the planet” to “man-baby who goes fetal at the first sign of pressure.” You can blame/thank Cain for that. Aside from getting wobbled a couple times by Cheick Kongo, he’s cruised through all nine of his career fights with no difficulty whatsoever.

2. Junior Dos Santos: A future champion who has put together one of the most impressive contendership runs in UFC history. I think he’ll be able to add Lesnar to his list of scalps in June. And then…?

3. Brock Lesnar: With such a massive psychological hole in his game and just a 5-2 overall record, it’s weird calling Brock the third greatest heavyweight in the world. I’m not sure I agree with myself here. But until Werdum and Overeem face off in April, neither of those guys deserves to be called top three either.

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Scott Coker Hopeful Fedor Will Fight the Loser of Overeem vs. Werdum

(After drowning his sorrows until closing at a New Jersey Dairy Queen, Emelianenko was overheard telling his priest, “Dah. I may fight again.”)

Scott Coker stopped AOL’s studio today to talk with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani about the successful first show of the opening round of his promotion’s heavyweight grand prix that took place Saturday night at the IZOD Center in New Jersey. Talk quickly turned to former top pound-for-pound king Fedor Emelianenko and whether or not Coker felt that “The Last Emperor” will indeed walk away from the sport forever as he intimated following his loss to Antonio Silva this past weekend.

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10 Questions to Ask in a Post-Fedor World

(Somehow, “Ostentatious Jacket of Crushing Defeat” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. PicProps: Strikeforce)

If Saturday night truly turns out to be Fedor Emelianenko’s swan song in mixed martial arts, the saddest part will be that we had to watch him go out on a live Strikeforce broadcast that can only be described as a terrible abortion. I mean, holy shit that was bad. From Gus Johnson showing up dressed as a beautiful woman to the horribly awkward interviews with Fedor/Gina Carano to the dreadfully anticlimactic end to the main event to the announce team desperately trying to close the show ad-libbing about Sergei Kharitonov – “He looked like a young Fedor!” Johnson said (Editor’s note: No, he didn’t) — it pretty much couldn’t have been any worse. And that doesn’t even begin to consider the fact that Emelianenko lost to a guy who just almost lost to Mike Kyle.

Even still, we’re going to avoid going full-on, tearful retrospective for a bit here. Though the man himself hinted that “maybe it’s time to leave” during his postfight interview it could have just been the initial depression and lingering effects of so many blows to the head talking. Give Fedor some time to get back to the Sport Palace and whip up on some pre-pubescent sambo white belts – and let Vadim Finkelstein start dropping hints about how that mortgage ain’t gonna pay itself – and it’s possible we could see “The Last Emperor” take at least one more bite of the MMA apple. No matter what though, we’ve likely witnessed the last of him as a top heavyweight, maybe even as a relevant one. For a lot of us, that’s a frightening reality, but one we must confront. Here are 10 questions that come immediately to mind about about our Fedor-less future …

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‘Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva’ Press Conference Photos + Recap

Antonio Silva Fabricio Werdum Strikeforce heavyweight GP tournament press conference MMA photos

(Antonio Silva is fascinated by Fabricio Werdum’s freakishly normal-sized chin.)

Photos and text by Matthew Kaplowitz

Strikeforce has graced the East Coast with their presence throughout this week, as the hype machine for their massive heavyweight grand prix is in full flux. Starting on Tuesday with a meet-and-greet for fans at the Roseland Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan with all eight of the tournament fighters, and continuing on Wednesday downtown with their press conference, Strikeforce is leaving their imprint on the tri-state area, informing natives of New York and New Jersey that the business of MMA has more than three letters.

This journalist/nerd was in the house for their press conference, which saw not only all members of the tournament, but the reserve fighters as well, packed into the swank Lighthouse 61 at Chelsea Piers, the skyline of New York dramatically posed behind them. Personally, I was excited to see that Strikeforce was feeding the reporters, and quite well at that, but even more exciting was the realization that this epic tournament was happening in my area. With MMA still illegal in New York, and very few big shows coming to neighboring states, having Saturday’s event a thirty-minute drive from The Big Apple was bound to help shed some light on how much of an impact MMA can have on the NY economy.

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Strikeforce New York Fan Experience Highlights: Heavyweight Grand Prix Fighters Assemble, Werdum Makes That Weird Face Again

Fabricio Werdum Strikeforce funny face smile MMA photos

(That’s what we call commitment to the bit. Props: MMA.us)

Approximately 1,500 MMA fans swarmed the Roseland Ballroom in New York City yesterday afternoon for a special meet-and-greet with the participants from Strikeforce’s heavyweight grand prix. The action begins this Saturday at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with two quarterfinal matches — Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva and Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov — and three reserve matches, featuring Shane Del Rosario, Chad Griggs, and Valentijn Overeem. If you’re going to be there in person, please swing by the press pit to receive a complimentary fist-bump from BG.

We’ve collected some video highlights from yesterday’s festivities after the jump: First, all eight members of the heavyweight GP are introduced to the crowd by horrific YAMMA/Affliction vet Scott Ferrall. Then, Alistair Overeem talks to Ariel Helwani about his new love of American football, getting ducked by Fedor, and Dana White’s opinion that he’s not a top ten heavyweight. Finally, Fabricio Werdum shows off his special move for the tournament, and we have to admit, it’s pretty damn special. Check it out.

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Video: Fedor Training for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in Russia


(Video courtesy of YouTube/ShoSports)

It’s curious that whenever you see Fedor Emelianenko training, it always seems to be with younger, smaller, less skillful opponents and that he never seems to be going above 50% intensity. The fact that he’s talking about bringing in Shane Carwin to help him prepare for the later rounds of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix may be an indicator of the level of training partners he has to pick from in his gym since his brother Aleksander and Gegard Mousasi left the Red Devil team.

As you can see in the video above, Fedor had an OK training camp, but didn’t really seem to get pushed much in the clips we saw. It makes you wonder what kind of shape he would be in and whether or not he would have lost to Werdum if he had spent the last year training at, say, Xtreme Couture. They say when you’re the top dog in the gym, it’s time to find a new gym where you’re in the middle of the pack trying to work your way to the top.

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Unsubstantiated Reports say Strikeforce Close to Finalizing Japanese Stage of Heavyweight GP


("I hear Dothan, Alabama is beautiful this time of year." PicProps: SB Nation )

Strikeforce appears on the verge of a solution to its Josh Barnett problem on Friday, as at least one internet report contends the company is close to a deal to take the MMA veteran/troubled teen to Japan for the first round of its heavyweight grand prix. MMA-Japan.com – a site affiliated with the good folks at Middle Easy – published the four-line story alleging that Strikeforce will partner with Real Entertainment and “possibly M-1 (Global)” to  stage a show on April 10 that will go down in “the afternoon hours (in Japan) in order to be shown live in the United States.” The story cites no sources and just states all of the above as fact, but since the boys at the Easy usually know their shit, we figure it’s worth repeating.

Obviously, rumors that Strikeforce is eyeing an international venue for this leg of the GP have been percolating for a few weeks. If true, it’ll mark the first time one of America’s two “major” MMA promotions has ventured to Japan since UFC 29 back in 2000. It also means the company will have found a temporary way around Barnett’s ongoing legal issues. In addition, the April show is expected to include Alistair Overeem’s opening round bout against Fabricio Werdum and staging it overseas would save The Reem from having to “pass” any more of those "independent drug tests." That’s what you call a “two birds, one stone” approach, kids.

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It’s Official: Strikeforce is Just Making This Sh*t Up as It Goes


("I’m thinking of a number between 1-20. First person to guess it gets to be Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix champion. No shit, we’ll give you a belt and everything." PicProps: Canvas Chronicle)

So, in a nutshell? Strikeforce held a conference call yesterday where it contradicted many of the things it just told us last week about its proposed heavyweight grand prix tournament. No, the title won’t be on the line. No, the fights (excepting the final) won’t be five rounds. Instead, the winner will become the Strikeforce tournament champion and will get a shot at Alistair Overeem’s belt after the grand prix wraps up … some time in like 2015. Unless Overeem himself wins the tournament. In that case, aside from The Reem having another hunk of gold to add to his collection and Strikeforce having zero title contenders left, we have no idea what happens next. From the sound of it, neither does Strikeforce.

Some other oddities in the tournament “rules” revealed yesterday: In the unlikely event of a draw, the promotion will call upon a fourth judge to break the tie. That’s cool, because draws suck. It’s also shitty, because the “fourth judge” will reportedly be appointed by Strikeforce, not an athletic commission and therefore stands to be even less trustworthy than the blind simpletons who normally score MMA fights. Also, in the very likely event that someone can’t continue in the tournament due to injury (or some other reason) a five-person “tournament committee” comprised of Strikeforce officials will handpick a replacement. If you think this concept is obviously rife with major conflicts of interests, well, you’re right. Don’t worry though, it will all sound very official. Kind of like in the ’80s when “Jack Tunney” used to be the “president” of the WWF.

Anyway, after the jump, some meditations on how all the things we told you in the above two paragraphs could potentially make this tournament go all fubar. We have questions, people. Tons of questions.

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Scott Coker Explains Lopsided Nature of Strikeforce Tournament Bracket


(According to a clause in his new contract, Fedor gets to play with half the Batman Legos set now and the other half when he shows up for the semis. PicProps: Showtime)

There’s just something about brackets, man. The human male would probably tune in to a tiddlywinks tournament if it could be neatly arranged in the elegant efficiency of a single elimination bracket. Nothing else allows us to channel our inner fanboy or bring out the modern jackass in our personalities quite like it. Once a year, the mythical lure of the bracket even makes college basketball seem interesting; it’s that powerful. Now, draw up a bracket populated by 265-pound behemoths who are charged with beating the dogshit out of each other until only one is left standing? Well, let’s just say you’ve got our attention.

Suffice it to say that upon poring over the proposed pairings for the 2011 Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix this week, it didn’t take long for the keen bracketologists in the MMA community to notice that the left-hand side of that badboy seemed a bit, um, stacked, while the right side appeared to be Josh Barnett and three other dudes. With Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem all on the same side of the tournament draw, eyebrows were raised in a collective: WTF? Werdum said he thought it was meant to sell pay-per-views. Overeem said he thought it was weird, but wasn’t going to lose any sleep over it. Barnett hasn’t said shit yet, but we assume he’ll take it. Now, the speculation can (sort of) end as company CEO Scott Coker explains to MMA Fighting.com exactly why Strikeforce overstocked one side of the bracket with all its top talent. It turns out not even the promotion itself believed it could engineer the desired Overeem vs. Fedor final, so it fudged things a little bit.

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Fight Video Roundup: All 12 Previous Meetings Between Strikeforce Heavyweight GP Participants [UPDATED]

Sergei Kharitonov Alistair Overeem MMA photos K-1 Hero's 10 Middleweight Tournament Final Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix
(Remember when Sergei Kharitonov sent Alistair Overeem‘s lifeless body through the ropes at K-1 Hero’s 10? No? Then you really need to watch these videos…)

In our excitement for Strikeforce’s potentially insane heavyweight tournament, one point seems to be getting lost in the narrative — namely, that these guys have already fought each other many, many times before. Five of the eight competitors (Werdum, Arlovski, Overeem, Emelianenko, Rogers) have previously faced at least three other fighters in the tournament field. Fabricio Werdum has actually fought everyone except Brett Rogers and Josh Barnett, and only Barnett himself has managed to go his entire career without bumping up against anybody else in this year’s bracket.

All told, there’s eleven twelve fights worth of shared history among the Strikeforce HWGP competitors, dating back over five years. To help you study for the quarterfinals next month, we’ve posted them all below in chronological order…

UPDATE: We originally forgot to include Fabricio Werdum’s decision win over Antonio Silva. So actually, there have been 12 previous meetings, not 11. The video has now been added. 


(Sergei Kharitonov def. Fabricio Werdum via split decision; PRIDE 30, 10/23/05)


(Alistair Overeem def. Sergei Kharitonov via TKO, 5:13 of round 1; PRIDE 31, 2/26/06)

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