It wasn't the greatest of performances for mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Fedor Emelianenko, who was making his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Pass debut under the Global Fight Nights banner, but "The Last Emperor" did enough to escape EFN 50 Friday night (June 17, 2016) in St. Petersburg, Russia, opposite former UFC brawler Fabio Maldonado.
After being hurt badly in the first round, Emelianenko surprisingly regained momentum, utilized his deeper gas tank, put the pressure on Maldonado against the cage, and narrowly earned a majority decision win in his second fight since making a return to MMA last year.
However, Emelianenko resembled little of his former self. The fight could have easily been stopped in the first round in accordance with Maldonado's vicious onslaught from top position, but the Russian referee decided to let the action go on a little bit longer. At no time did Emelianenko look like he has shaken all the cobwebs out at the age of 37.
Still, the Heavyweight sensation plans on moving forward with his career.
"All is still ahead," said Emelianenko at the EFN 50 post-fight press conference. "We will fight on."
"As far as the rest of my career, I will recuperate and go over all of the proposals received."
Emelianenko is eluding to the fact that he's relatively close in finalizing a deal with UFC to become its next biggest international signing. Remember, MMA's largest promotion has been trying to get its hands on Fedor for some time now.
But after a dismal performance opposite a UFC defector, it's likely that UFC has a little more bargaining fuel this time around in any ongoing contract discussions with Emelianenko.