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Muscle Sport Magazine

Does Loss To Dan Henderson Spell the End for Fedor Emalianenko?

Perhaps Fedor Emalianenko should have retired following his February loss to “Bigfoot” Silva. But the big Russian came back and faced Dan Henderson at the Strikeforce MMA card this past Saturday evening in Illinois, hoping to snap a two-fight losing streak.

It was not to happen, as Henderson knocked out Fedor at 4:12 of the first round to retain his light heavyweight championship and improve his overall record to 28-8. A quick start by both fighters set the pace and potential finishing punches were being thrown one after the other. Henderson appeared to get the better of the early exchange and “The Last Emperor” countered with some strong right hands, eventually putting the champ down.

The Fedor of yesterday would have been able to finish the job right there and then, but Henderson was able to gain the advantage after surviving from the canvas. “Hendo” was able to get Fedor’s back and reverse the position, throw a barrage of punches before being waved off by referee Herb Dean.

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Fedor’s comments after the fight were not sugar-coated and he felt that Dean jumped the gun. Using words like “early” twice made it obvious how he felt, but he may have a point. “I was ready to continue fighting,” Fedor (31-4) said at the post-fight press conference.

It did appear that Dean was cowering over the fighters and made his move hastily, but that is tough to say when you are not the one seeing exactly what the referee is. Dean has been around the sport long enough and his decision should be respected.

Fedor was coy about his future plans, saying things like it is “God’s will” if he fights again and “life goes on.” He has certainly lost more than a step in the past year and should seriously think about hanging ’em up.

Fedor’s legacy amy be more important than a few wins late in his career. He may be Strikeforce/M-1 Global’s main draw, but that will only go so far as his performances get worse. With Dana White and the UFC pulling the strings, the questions only broaden.

The affiliation with its umbrella company may give Strikeforce some leeway, as their overhead is not as much of a concern as it was when they were footing their own bill. But they still want their own identity, and Fedor has been ‘the man’ in that promotion.

White has always had something for Fedor and may want to see him stick around. But losing is not going to make things better. Sure, Silva and Henderson are big-time fighters, so Fedor has nothing to hang his head about.

Perhaps a few wins against lesser opponents can clear the picture up for all involved.

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