Monday, June 28, 2010

Werdum shocks Fedor

SAN JOSE,  Calif. (June 27, 2010) –  Two-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Fabricio Werdum (14-4)
registered the most spectacular upset in MMA history with a 1:09, first-round  submission (triangle choke) over the world’s No. 1 heavyweight and  pound-for-pound fighter, Fedor Emelianenko (31-2) before
12,649 Saturday at HP  Pavilion.

Fedor,  a six-footer, had Werdum in trouble in the opening moments after dropping him  with a right uppercut that was followed with several more punches. But,  from his back, Werdum, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and member of Brazil’s vaunted  Chute Boxe fight squad, got Fedor into a combination triangle- and arm-choke.  Within seconds, the fight was over. The famed Fedor had tapped  out.

“I am  so very, very happy,’’ the six-foot-four Werdum said. “He is such a strong  man.  He is a great fighter. I would  be glad to fight him again.’’
It was  the first “legitimate’’ defeat in Fedor’s legendary career. His other loss,  while official, came as a result of a disputed doctor stoppage due to a cut he  sustained seconds into a matchup with Japan’s Tsuyoshi
Kosaka on Dec. 22, 2000. 

“One that doesn’t fall doesn’t stand up. I was concentrating on the strikes and made  a mistake,’’ Fedor said. “I will have to go back and analyze what  happened.’’

Saturday  marked the first time in MMA history, the No. 1 male and female fighters in the world fought in the same cage on the same night.

While  Fedor failed in a stunning shocker, the top women’s fighter, Cris Cyborg (10-1) of Curitibia, Brazil, was her usual  brutal self as she retained the STRIKEFORCE Women’s World Middleweight (145  pounds) title with a dominant second-round (2:27) knockout (strikes) over game,  determined challenger, Jan Finney  (8-8) of Springfield, Ohio, in one of the featured fights on  SHOWTIME.

In  other televised fights, former STRIKEFORCE middleweight champion and hometown  favorite, southpaw Cung Le (17-3) of  San Jose, convincingly stopped Scott  “Hands Of Steel’’ Smith (18-7) of Elk Grove, Calif., at 1:46 in the second  round; and popular, local fan favorite and  former STRIKEFORCE
world lightweight belt-holder Josh “The Punk’’ Thomson (17-3), of San  Jose, turned back a determined bid of Pat “Bam Bam’’ Healy (23-16) of  Portland, Ore., to  score a  hard-fought, third-round submission. A tight, even fight ended via rear-naked  choke at 4:27. 

In an emotional  moment midway through the telecast, MMA pioneer and San Jose’s original favorite  MMA son, Frank “The Legend’’ Shamrock, made one  last walk down the ramp, in a suit, no less, and into the cage where he formally  announced his retirement.

As the respectful  fans stood and listened in appreciation, Shamrock, who is an expert analyst for  SHOWTIME MMA telecasts, took the microphone, surrounded by family, promoters and  executives, and said: “I’m 37. My time has come. Tonight, I announce my  retirement. Tonight, I enter the cage for the
last time as a fighter. I want to  thank the people, my friend and an honest promoter, Scott Coker, for always keeping his  word. In 2006, I threw one punch and STRIKEFORCE was born. Again, I want to  thank all the people, the HP Pavilion and my family who put up with my craziness  that was MMA. You, the
fans were there when I won, and when I lost, and it was  an honor for me to bleed and to break bones and entertain  you.’’

Shamrock then slowly  bowed to each side of the cage, precipitating one final roar of cheers from  those in attendance.

By  defeating Fedor, Werdum’s record now against the Emelianenko’s is 2-0. On Nov. 26, 2006, Werdum submitted Fedor’s brother, Aleksander, via arm triangle choke at  3:24 in the first round in Rotterdam, Holland.  Werdum  may also have earned an immediate shot at STRIKEFORCE heavyweight world  champion, Alistair “The Demolition Man”  Overeem, whom he’s already defeated once. “I am ready to fight anybody,’’  Werdum said.

Cyborg, who had a  meaningless point deducted for hitting behind the head in the opening round,  praised Finney, who went down several times, but felt the fight could have been  halted earlier. 

“I was really  surprised the fight wasn’t stopped in the first round,’’ said Cyborg after her  10th consecutive victory. “I know she was trying hard, but I could  tell I was hurting her, especially when she was down and
covering up like she  was. But it is my job to keep fighting until the fight is  over.’’

Cyborg  was crowned the first STRIKEFORCE women’s champion in history on Aug. 15, 2009,  after she stopped Gina Carano in the  first round at HP Pavilion. Finney fought as hard  as anyone could expect and, true to her word, kept firing back. 

“I think this, being  a world title fight, could have gone on a little longer,’’ she said. “If I was  really hurt, I would have tapped.’’

Southpaw Le, who had  dominated Smith before getting stopped last Dec. 19, left little to doubt this  time around. A spinning leg kick to the body dropped Smith and after a  succession of punches, the referee stepped in.

Afterward, an ecstatic Le  back-flipped out. “I want to thank  Scott Coker and SHOWTIME. I know what happened last time and was determined not  to have it happen again. I knew I was in shape. I was pushed really hard during  training. I was totally focused. I didn’t eat pizza. I didn’t eat chocolate for  six or seven weeks.

“If Scott Coker wants  a rubber match, that would be fine with me. Last time was Scott (Smith’s) night.  This was my night. I am the one standing.’’

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