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Report: Fedor Emelianenko Signs With Strikeforce; First Fight On Showtime

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Luke Thomas with the news:

World's No. 1 MMA Heavyweight To Fight

In STRIKEFORCE / M-1 Global Co-Promoted Events

First Fight To Air This Fall, Live on SHOWTIME®

NEW YORK (August 3, 2009)--After a week of intense negotiations and speculation, the hottest topic of discussion in the professional fight world has come to a head as the world's number one heavyweight and most sought after mixed martial arts (MMA) champion Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko has signed a historic, multi-fight agreement that will see him headline mega-events co-promoted by world championship promotions STRIKEFORCE and M-1 Global.

Emelianenko, known globally as Fedor, will make his premium television debut this Fall when his first fight under the new agreement airs live on SHOWTIME®.  Up until now, Emelianenko's live fights have aired exclusively on pay-per-view in the United States.

"I am looking forward to going back to work and fighting at the highest level," said the 33-year-old Emelianenko.  During his nine year professional fight career, which included a four and a half year stay with the world's former top MMA promotion, the now defunct PRIDE Fighting Championship, the Russian native has faced and defeated all comers.

I'll be back with analysis shortly.

  • Fedor has 3 match ups at Strikeforce for the most part, Brett Rogers, Alistair Overeem, and Fabricio Werdum.  All of these fighters are top ten or near top ten or former top ten status, and while they don't give off the same ring as Lesnar/Fedor...they are legit opponents.  What if Fedor lost to one of these fighters?  That would essentially hand Lesnar the #1 spot in the HW rankings provided he doesn't lose.
  • I wonder what exactly the deal consisted of and if Showtime/CBS had a hand in the deal getting done.  This deal got deal quick...real quick.
  • How will the UFC view Strikeforce now?  Will they launch a full scale counter-programming attack against Strikeforce?  Will UFC HW's want to leave the UFC for a chance at fighting Fedor?

My guess is that the UFC will not have to worry about fighters wanting to leave the UFC to fight Fedor.  I've mentioned it time and time again that Fedor's window of dominating is closing fairly quickly IMO.  The new breed of heavyweights coming down the pipe, combined with his age will see him lose at some point provided he fights top competition.  Also, with the UFC rumored to be close to finishing a deal with ESPN in the U.S., I doubt anybody would want to leave that situation.  If fighters did want to leave, well they can just look at the Randy Couture situation and see how that played out.  They would be better served just staying put and setting their sights on Brock Lesnar.

If regards to how Fedor matches up agaisnt the Strikeforce heavyweights, they are all interesting matchups simply because of the implementation of the cage and elbows.  Fedor hasn't had to deal with either of those factors, and with that paper thin skin, it could pose big problems for him.  Stay tuned to MMA4Real as more news develops on this story.