Fedor Emelianenko vs. Kazuyuki Fujita
This is an epic fight. Both warriors put in a valiant effort. It’s the closest Fedor ever came to losing in Pride. This fight is edge of your seat action and intensity. The Japanese crowd goes ecstatic during this. It took place at Pride 26. A lot of people thought that this was going to be a one-sided beat down of Fujita, but they were wrong. I have an enormous amount of respect for Fujita because of this fight.
Fedor was already the Pride Heavyweight Champion coming into this fight, beating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria for the title. He was only 3-0 in Pride prior to this fight, but it was against top-notch competitors. He destroyed Heath Herring (a well known journey man/gatekeeper) and decisively beat Semmy Schlitt, who was a 6’11” Dutch kickboxer who eventually went on to win a K-1 Grand Prix. Fedor was a champion in Rings before joining Pride. He is technically undefeated in all his MMA matches (that one where he got cut by an elbow and they stopped the fight doesn’t count). The announcers are showing a lot of respect to Fedor and rightfully so.
The thing about Fedor is that he doesn’t meet the stereotype image of what a great fighter should look like. People tend to think that the person with the most chiseled jaw and the best abs will automatically be the best fighter. This is not true at all in reality. Fedor is a good example. He doesn’t look that physically impressive. At 6’0” and 230lbs, he often fought guys bigger than him. His body is not “defined” like we expect to see out of a fighter, he doesn’t even lift weights. It even looks like he has a bit of a belly. But Fedor proves everybody wrong on what a great fighter is supposed to look like and shows how lethal he is as a man.
Kazuyuki Fujita was Japan’s best heavyweight at the time. He is a very honorable and spiritual warrior. He was 5-1 in Pride coming into this fight, but had already fought and lost to Mirko Cro-Cop in MMA matches outside of Pride. So Fujita was a hardened veteran and a worthy opponent to fight Fedor. However, nobody believed that he would win this fight, or that it would even be competitive.
Fujita has shown that he can withstand a lot of damage and still continue fighting. He and Mark Hunt have the strongest chins I’ve ever seen in Pride or any MMA match. His nickname is “Ironhead” and rightfully so; Fujita was having a medical exam and when the doctors took x-rays of his skull they found it was actually thicker than a normal human being’s skull! So Fujita actually has a genetic advantage to be a good fighter, or at least be able to absorb damage.
Fedor’s entrances are so cool they deserve their own article. Unfortunately they don’t show it on this Pride 26 DVD. Fujita’s entrance is shown. He comes out to a Rocky like entrance and looks ready to go. Fujita is big and solid, and more defined than Fedor.
Of course almost all the fighters look more defined than Fedor, but Fedor is a bad man. It’s not about looks, it’s about skill.
The commentary for this fight is enhanced with Quinton Jackson sitting in. This is a treat because he’s funny. He dominated his fight earlier in the night and came out quickly and looked fresh to commentate.
The Japanese crowd is decidedly in favor of Fujita, as they should be. There is no anger on either fighter’s face. Fujita looks more intense and determined, but no anger. Fedor always looks like he is about to cry before a fight. He knows how dangerous this is and the bad things that could happen to him or the other guy. He understands…
Fedor is the complete opposite of how people would think of a Champion fighter should look and act. He truly understands what this is really all about, and how you have to train and conduct yourself to be an undefeated champion.
Fedor’s staredowns are always interesting. There is a type of sadness in his eyes. He looks down most of the time and never tries to challenge the other fighter with his eyes. It really looks like he might start crying. It is so strange to see this because we know what Fedor is capable of doing. His mindset on how to approach a fight is completely different than how most men approach a fight. Maybe that’s why he’s so good.
I think that apparent sadness in his eyes is because he knows that extreme violence is about to take place. And if you are not prepared, you can be seriously injured. Such is the nature of this sport.
Both fighters are very respectful to each other in the staredown. Fujita does not look angry either, nor does he try to challenge Fedor with his eyes. But he looks ready to do battle. These are both very honorable warriors. The two touch gloves and go back to their corners.
The fight begins and they touch gloves. Right away the announcers make a joke about it how this may be Fujita’s only chance to land a hit. I’m actually surprised they thought this was going to be such a one-sided beat down.
Fedor does not come out aggressive. He is really feeling Fujita out, trying to get his timing. Quadros makes a great comment saying that Fedor has been boxing since he was a kid.
Fedor finally throws two big punches that do not land cleanly, the second one was a big upper body shot. There is a ton of power behind those punches. Nobody wants to trade punches with something like that, the best you can do is defend yourself.
They get in the clinch and Fedor tries a double leg takedown. Fujita sprawls nicely, and both are back on their feet. They touch gloves again. Definitely respectful, honorable warriors.
The look on Fedor’s face is interesting. He is calm, but there is something else there.
Fedor starts doing some crazy stuff with his hands. Circling them around in strange patterns. The crowd reacts and it is mesmerizing to watch Fedor’s hands.
This is the first time I’ve ever seen a fighter do this, but I’m sure it’s been done before. It definitely takes practice to move your hands like how Fedor is doing. Finally he throws a big right hand that 75% lands. It looks huge though. He then partially throws Fujita down who falls on his back.
While standing Fedor lands a huge left hand while Fujita is on his back. Fujita spins around and then tries to get back to his feet from all fours. Fedor then lands a huge soccer kick to the head. Everyone in the crowd is like “ohhhhh…..”, even me and I’ve seen the replay multiple times.
The fight would have ended right there against a normal man.
Fujita doesn’t look injured from those two big shots and goes for a single leg takedown. Fujita looks real close to getting a takedown, but Fedor is still on his feet showing great balance. Fedor finally gets out of it. That was impressive. While escaping, Fedor gets clipped in the head by a left haymaker from Fujita.
The fight is back to the stand up and the crowd is getting loud. They’re going to get a lot louder pretty soon. Fujita is showing tremendous heart.
Around 30 seconds go by with them circling, feeling each other out. Fedor isn’t really doing the hand motion games as much.
Fedor tries a three punch combo, and only the second one lands, but not with a lot of power. Fujita is showing great blocking technique.
Right after Fujita blocks the third punch he throws a major right hand that nails Fedor right in the temple.
Fedor is wobbling, he’s got the fish legs! Oh my god!
They crowd is going insane! If you watch some of the fans in the background, it looks like they are about to explode. The announcers are going crazy. This is nuts.
Fujita tries a one-two combo punch while Fedor is wobbling, but it is still not enough to knock him down.
Fedor then does something extremely intelligent. He knows he just got rocked. As he’s wobbling, he just tries to get in the clinch with Fujita so he can recover his senses. This is exactly what you should do in this situation. All Fedor is trying to do is keep Fujita close to him so he can recover himself.
Fujita is able to take Fedor to the mat, but it was valuable time for Fedor to recover. He’s still recovering while on the ground. Fujita missed a golden opportunity to finish Fedor. Wow.
Blood is streaming from Fedor’s left eye now where that big shot landed. This is the most rocked anybody has ever seen Fedor. I have never heard the Japanese crowd so crazy.
Fujita isn’t doing much from the top. (Or he can’t do much). Fedor works his way back to his feet while Fujita still has a single leg. Fujita then lifts Fedor a good 5 feet off the ground and tries to slam him. Fedor shows great balance again and lands feet first like a cat, preventing the slam. Fedor breaks away and the fight is back to the stand up.
Fedor is still wobbly on his feet. Blood is streaming from his eye. The fighters circle and feel each other out for another 30 seconds.
Fedor then tries another big right hand that Fujita blocks superbly. However, this time Fedor fakes the clinch and then follows up with a huge liver kick. You can hear the smack against Fujita’s body and everyone reacts to the shot.
Any normal man will go down from a kick to the body like that. The liver is on the right side of your body… It is extremely painful to get hit there. Fujita is stunned but still on his feet. Fedor then throws two big left- rights to the chin and Fujita goes down. Oh my!
Fedor hits Fujita when he’s on the ground but then Fujita tries to get a single leg. Fedor spins around and secures a tight rear naked choke. It is extremely tight. So tight you could kill a man. Fedor sinks the choke in so tight he lifts Fujita up and onto his back. This type of choke could crush your trachea.
The choke is completely in. There is no escaping... Fujita taps out. It’s okay to tap there.
What an incredible fight. I have a ton of respect for Fujita. And Fedor was Fedor.
Fedor stands up lifting his arm in the air. Quinton Jackson and the other announcers are talking nothing but respect for Fedor. That is an example of a CHAMPION.
Fedor is still wobbly after the fight and Fujita is still down after that choke and I hope he is okay.
Fedor is not ecstatic in victory or anything. He just looks relieved.
The replays they show of Fedor getting rocked by Fujita are something else. It looks like Fujita was really trying to finish Fedor off when he was wobbly, he tried his best to keep distance and throws punches, but Fedor got the clinch in (double overhooks) and kept Fujita close. That comes from experience. Very intelligent to do that.
I also cannot stress enough what great blocking technique Fujita shows to block Fedor’s big right hand and threw that counter punch that rocked Fedor. He blocked another big right hand before eating that liver kick which led to the end of the fight.
It’s amazing Fujita wasn’t knocked out by the liver kick and one-two punch combo. It took a lethal choke hold to finish him off.
Fujita still has not gotten up and it is getting worrisome. He does eventually get back to his feet and appears okay. I’m very thankful for that.
Fedor and Fujita shake hands and smile with each other. Great, honorable sportsmanship from both warriors.
Fedor is lifting Fujita’s arm in the air to show respect. These are comrades. Fedor is a class act.
What a great fight. One for the history books.
Kazuyuki Fujita went on to fight in many more Pride fights. He fought almost all the big names in Pride, however, he was never able to beat the top talent and remained a gate keeper type fighter. This is not to diminish his courage, skill, or fighting spirit. In all the interviews Fujita has given he is a very cool and deeply spiritual guy. He seems to care little that he is internationally famous. I hope he has made plenty of money from fighting in Pride and has attained financial security. He has already attained respect and fame.
Fedor Emelianenko continued to be a legend in MMA. He never lost in Pride, winning 15 straight! He went undefeated for 33 straight fights. This does not happen by chance. He is the greatest fighter of all time, especially considering he fought under Pride rules. No other fighter has put up the kind of stats he has put up.
It is obvious that Fedor fights with intelligence. He has stated a fight is as much a mental chess match as a physical one. No one has shown the overall skill in being proficient at all the components of MMA as Fedor. He can smoothly transition from striking, grappling, submissions, escapes, and ground and pound.
Another thing about Fedor that is profound is his mental approach. It’s something indescribable. It is not angry at all. It is pure and honorable, but fierce in battle. I believe this might be related to the Russian culture and work ethic (the good qualities of it), as I have never seen any non-Russian fighters with this type of mental strength. The only other examples I can think of are the great Alexander Karelin (legend in Greco-Roman wrestling) and the Klitschko brothers (heavyweight champions in boxing). It is a calm, cool, noble, and intensely focused mindset.
It is so different from the stereotyped mindset of MMA fighters, especially Americans, who just try to get pumped up and angry before a fight.
We are going to talk about Fedor much more throughout this website.
Fedor Emelianenko and Kazuyuki Fujita, thank you for fighting in Pride.
Written February 2013