With a shocking loss to Fabricio Werdum at last Saturday’s Strikeforce event, Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko has effectively been displaced from his perch atop the heavyweight division. This leaves the door wide open for either Shane Carwin or UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar to claim the top spot. Carwin and Lesnar will finally clash on July 3, at UFC 116.
Things couldn’t have worked out better for the UFC and for president Dana White, who simply tweeted “:P” to express how he felt immediately after the Fedor loss. The fact that Werdum (who sported a 2-2 record while in the UFC), took out possibly the last worthy PRIDE holdout not to test the waters of the world’s biggest MMA promotion, is music to the UFC’s ears.
Fedor tapping to jiu-jitsu ace Werdum is only the latest bit of bad news for Strikeforce. See my previous blog about the current state of the San Jose-based promotion.
Although both Strikeforce’s Werdum and Alistair Overeem are perhaps top five heavyweights, the lion's share of the best fighters within that division are undeniably in the UFC. It can be argued that Fedor’s loss closes the door to the possibility that a fighter outside of the UFC could be considered the best in their respective division. “The Last Emperor” was the final holdout of the top-ranked guys outside of the Zuffa (UFC - WEC) umbrella. Similar to organizations like the NFL, MLB, and NBA, the best players for that particular sport are in one organization, not spread across multiple organizations. The UFC and the WEC are unquestionably the main global source for elite MMA fighters in all seven weight divisions.
With that said, the timing of UFC 116 couldn’t have been better. With Emelianenko, who has been tagged by many as “the baddest man on the planet," no longer sitting atop the heavyweight division, UFC 116 will allow Lesnar or Carwin to claim that moniker, in what is now the biggest fight of the year.
UFC 116 will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 3 and will be broadcast via Pay-Per-View, with two preliminary bouts airing live on Spike TV.
UFC 116 - Fight Card
Champ Brock Lesnar vs. interim champ Shane Carwin (heavyweight title-unification bout)
Matt Brown vs. Chris Lytle
Prelim Card (Spike TV)
Brendan Schaub vs. Chris Tuchscherer
Seth Petruzelli vs. Ricardo Romero
Prelim Card (Un-aired)
Kendall Grove vs. Goran Reljic
Dave Branch vs. Gerald Harris
Forrest Petz vs. Daniel Roberts
Jon Madsen vs. Karlos Vemola