Aleksander Emelianenko was back in action Saturday night in Khabarovsk, Russia, where he faced Australian K-1/Sengoku vet Peter Graham in the main event of Draka: Governor’s Cup 2010. Despite Graham’s decorated kickboxing background, he came into the fight with an underwhelming MMA record of 3-5, with notable losses to Kazuyuki Fujita, Rolles Gracie, and Jim York (all by first-round choke).
But this was no ordinary MMA match — special rules were in place so that fighters would be stood up after just 30 seconds. Not that it would matter to Aleks, who hasn’t needed much more than his fists lately. In fact, The Other Emelianenko had finished all of his previous eight opponents in the first round. True, most of those opponents were no-name punching bags who looked like they didn’t belong in the ring with him, and his April win against Eddy Bengtsson was one of the dive-iest dives in diving history. Would Graham be another conquest on Alek’s can-crushing streak? As the headline of this post should have already informed you, no, not at all.
Graham lands his first nasty leg kick at the 2:17 mark; pay attention, that’ll become important later. Aleks starts to pour it on, with a series of hockey-punch-style uppercuts before scoring a takedown. He works for an armlock but gives it up, and those special rules are utilized for the first time. The Aussie lands another leg kick at 4:10, and you can tell that Aleks isn’t happy about it. Graham slips while throwing another leg kick and Emelianenko jumps on to end the fight with a leg lock. But again, those special goddamned rules. At 5:36, Graham straight-up drops Aleks with a leg kick, but the Russian is saved by the bell. Two of his cornermen need to carry him to his stool.
And yet the fight goes on, with Aleks in obvious agony. Graham knows what to do here. They box until Graham lands a leg kick that crumples Aleks. The ref orders him up, and he can barely comply. One more shot to the leg, and Emelianenko is on his ass again. Graham spends 30 seconds punching him on the ground. The process repeats all over again: A creaky standup, a leg kick knockdown, and some GnP from Graham. Finally, Aleks says "no mas."
As his brother Fedor once said, "the one who doesn’t fall doesn’t stand up." And so, Aleksander is scheduled to return in February against 1-1 German heavyweight Chris Mahle, who could be the first victim in a brand new can-crushing streak for the Grim Reaper, assuming that his knee isn’t completely effed-up. But even with those totally legit Italian lab documents clearing Aleks of hepatitis, we don’t expect to see him fight a notable opponent any time soon.