James Thompson vs Aleksander Emelianenko
If I'm introducing somebody to Pride Fighting, this is one of the first fights I'll show them. It's quick and entertaining. The fight itself as well as the opening will just make you laugh. It's a good fight.
James Thompson is from Britain and earned an invitation to fight in Pride by winning in smaller MMA promotions in the UK. He beat Dan Severn right before his first Pride fight discussed here. He is a big, impressive looking guy. 6'4" 265 lbs. Before he began training in MMA, he worked as a debt collector. Now wouldn't that be scary having this guy trying to collect debt from you? Actually, in his interviews he seems well spoken, like a nice guy. Most British people seem to have a charm with their language, at least from our American point of view.
Aleksander Emelianenko is from Russia and is the brother of the great Fedor Emelianenko. Based on that credibility, he got invited to fight in Pride Bushido (not the main Pride cards), even though he never fought an MMA match before. Due to being Fedor's brother, he has shown that he is worthy to be in the ring. He's 4-1 in Pride going into this fight, only losing to Cro Cop. The knowledge and training he gets from his brother can make any fighter great, if the fighter is willing to put in the hard work.
James Thompson is intense and looks ready to go. He's ripped and has this death stare going on. Scary.
Emelianenko looks like he just got out of bed. His body isn't anywhere near as defined as Thompson's, and its covered in tattoos.
Thompson is ready to brawl. Look at his reaction when they introduce his name in the ring, he lets out a yell. His face is shaking with intensity and he has a death stare towards Emelianenko. He's ready to kill. I've never seen a man so fired up before a fight.
Then they show Aleksander, he flicks his eyes up and keeps them up. He looks bored. Very nonchalent. He's not scared at all. It's hilarious the clash of personalities on how these two men approach a fight; Thompson taking the more intense (and more common) approach. Thompson would intimidate any normal man, because its obvious he wants to brawl.
I can't help laughing during the staredown. Thompson does not stop staring at Aleksander, who looks like it's just another day at work to him. Aleksander is so calm through all of this its amazing. That takes mental toughness.
As soon as the bell rings, Thompson charges like a bull right at Aleksander. There is no circling and feeling each other out. This is going to be a brawl. He throws a running haymaker at Aleksander, who avoids it and throws a counterpunch that lands. Aleksander trips on Thompson leg and falls backwards to the side. Thompson chases after him. Aleksander gets up right before Thompson gets to him and the two grab each other's heads (illegal in boxing) and trade shots. They trade a couple more and Aleksander lands a nice left-right punch combo.
The fight is chaotic. Thompson wants to keep trading and throws more punches, but they are not landing cleanly. Aleksander lands another big right, knocking Thompson down. He gets back up quickly and lands a left on Aleksander while taking a right hand at the same time. They punch each other at the same time again, and Aleksander's big left lands.
Thompson goes down, his head dropping first like an anchor. He's rocked big time and Aleksander is on top of him. The ref stops the fight. Good stoppage.
That was an 11 second fight, but it was 11 seconds of straight up clashing. It probably took you longer to read this than watch the fight.
I admire how calm and collected Aleksander was through all of this. He's even pretty chill after the victory. Aleksander's brother looks real happy though.
Thompson does not look seriously injured and is back on his feet quickly after the fight. That's good.
The two fighters shake hands afterwards. It was honorable of them to do, after such an intense opening.
Both guys were hitting each other at the same time, but Aleksander's shots had more power and were more accurate. I think most people would have picked Thompson winning the fight if they knew nothing about the fighters. He passes the eye test and looked intense as hell. His fighting style has been termed the "Gong and dash mode", because as soon as the bell rings he is charging at his opponent throwing bombs. He doesn't care if he gets punched. This fighting style will work and scare the crap out of any untrained fighter, but not here.
I have nothing but respect for Thompson and do not question his courage or fighting spirit. I mean that is pretty scary if right when the bell rings a guy runs right at you throwing haymakers. Thompson went on to fight several more times in Pride and has achieved a decent amount of fame in the MMA community. He seems like a cool guy and I hope he is doing well in life. I found out he maintains an interesting website nowadays, http://www.colossalcollective.com/.
Aleksander went on to become a significant force in Pride. He showed excellent boxing skills in this fight with his accuracy. He would always be overshadowed by his more famous brother, Fedor, but he is still well known in the MMA community.
Aleksander's career after Pride was unfortunate. After Pride's extinction, he was not allowed to fight in American MMA promotions because he tested positive for some weird disease, like hepatitis or something. He can still fight in oversea promotions it looks like. He also has an ongoing feud with countryman Sergei Kharitonov, which is not good to hear about.
In any case, you are a bad man Aleksander. Bad in a good way of course. I have nothing but respect for you, your fighting ability as well as your attitude going into fights.
James Thompson and Aleksander Emelianenko, thank you for fighting in Pride. That was entertaining.
Written August 2012
(Note: I love the music they play after a fight when the fighters are walking back to the tunnels, I don't know where I can find a copy of that music.)