Mixed martial arts (MMA) heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko turned back the clock last weekend when he bulled through former UFC champion Frank Mir in just 48 seconds at Bellator 198.
As a result of his efforts, Fedor will move on to the semi-final round of Bellator MMA’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix tournament and face off against former UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen. Immediately following his knockout of Mir, “Last Emperor” was thrust into a rather awkward staredown with Sonnen inside of the Bellator cage.
Ryan Bader, who is also part of the Heavyweight World Grand Prix and will take on Muhammed Lawal in a quarter-final matchup at Bellator 199 later this month, thought the face off between the stone-faced Fedor and loud-mouthed Sonnen was pure comedy.
“Yeah, it was pretty funny. Fedor just kinda shut him down,” Bader told Submission Radio earlier this week (shown above). “Chael did one of his corny poems or whatever he does there and Fedor really wasn’t having it. So, Chael’s gonna do that and I think it’s good if he can get people watching. And that’s an intriguing match-up.”
Despite awarding Emelianenko the victory for standing still and allowing Sonnen to make a fool of himself, Bader still believes “The Bad Guy” can pull off the upset and hand Fedor a huge loss at heavyweight.
“Chael can definitely go out there and beat him. It’s one of those fights that’s a toss-up,” Bader said. “Fedor can go out there and look good and knock him out, or Chael can take him down and dominate him in that wrestling department.”
“I think it’s a toss-up, ‘cause people always underestimate Chael. He’ll talk a lot and do all that, but he does have the tools to win,” Bader explained. “Look back to his fights with guys like Shogun, where he does have a good guillotine also and he can take people down. He has decent striking where he can keep you at distance like he did with Rampage, and then pick his shots where he can take you down.
“He doesn’t necessarily have to take you down and pass and try to submit you, he’s gonna take you down, he’s gonna just be on top of you, he’s got that good control. He doesn’t have to do much damage. You know, it’s a three-round fight also. You gotta take that into account. So, he can take him down and hold him down for three rounds and win the fight and move onto the finals.”
While Sonnen is an extremely competent wrestler who has controlled some of the best fighters in the world in the past, his body is not built for heavyweight competition. Sonnen was able to defeat Quinton Jackson via decision in the opening round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix tourney, but “Rampage” is a life-long light heavyweight.
Fedor is going to be much stronger on fight night and it could lead to a rather easy victory for the Russian, especially if he can keep the action on the feet.
As for Bader, if he can get past “King Mo” this month and then Matt Mitrione in the semi-final round later this year, he could end up getting his hands on the winner of Fedor vs. Sonnen.