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Fedor Emelianenko, the number 1# rated heavyweight fighter and the owner of a 27-1 record is reportedly a free agent and has signed to fight Tim Sylvia, the former UFC heavyweight champion, and the guy who recently lost via submission to Antonio Nogueira at UFC 81. Sylvia was dominating Nogueira before tapping to a guillotine choke in the third round. Sylvia asked for and received his release from the UFC with 1 fight remaining on his contract. The 6'8" 265 pound fighter from Maine has wanted a fight with the Russian, Emelianenko, for some time now, but did not rule out a return to the UFC in the future. Sylvia stated that he had about 2 years left to fight and wanted to fight at least 6 or maybe 7 times this year and would be allowed to do this under his new promotion "Adrenaline" which is owned by his manager Monte Cox. The UFC holds all of it's fighters under "exclusive" contracts which prevents them from fighting for other promotions, so they don't fight as much in a given year. This has long been one of my few criticisms of the UFC is that they do not showcase their premier fighters enough, but do put on many fights between top ten fighters which the fans love, but this intense top-ten competition beats up their top competitors.
A fighter like Chuck Liddell will only fight twice a year, maybe three times even though he is the UFC's top PPV draw. As far as Tim Sylvia is concerned he will probably wish he stayed in the UFC instead of fighting Fedor, unless he can stop the take down. If Sylvia can stop the take down and not allow himself to be pulled into Fedor's guard than he stands a chance of defeating the Russian fighter. Ultimately though, I believe Fedor will be victorious.
Randy Couture has been rumored to be fighting Emelianenko, but Couture is in a contract dispute with the UFC. The UFC claims that Couture owes them more fights, but Couture has countered that his contract was for a set amount of time and that it ends this summer. Only time will tell who wins this dispute. This contract dispute started when Couture refused to defend his title against Antonio Noguiera because he wanted to fight Emelianenko, whom the UFC could not sign because Emelianenko's management team wanted a "non-exclusivity" contract so he could compete in Combat Sambo competitions in his native Russia. Couture was then upset that the UFC reportedly offered more money to Emelianenko in a signing bonus than Couture gets per fight. In the meantime, Emelianenko went to Japan and submitted 7'2" 450 pound Korean Hong Man Choi for the "M-1 Global" promotion. Fedor was criticised for taking a fight against a non-top-ten competitor but a fight is a fight and he looked sharp. The M-1 brand has since been dismantled and this brings us to the question of the day.
With a fight between Sylvia and Emelianenko scheduled for July will a fight between Couture and Emelianenko ever be realized? If I was Couture I would definitely be rooting for an Emelianenko win because we all saw the result of Couture fighting Sylvia. Couture wants the big payday and that will never happen if Emelianenko is defeated by someone other than himself.
Chuck Liddell has quietly called out Emelianenko by stating in London's "Sun" newspaper that Couture could beat Emelianenko and that he recently had knocked out Couture twice and "a move to heavyweight was not out of the question". Chuck, I like watching you fight, so I mean this as fan of yours not an enemy. Don't move to heavyweight to fight Fedor unless you are focused. If you think you are going to drink and party and hang-out all night at the "gentleman's club's" and then go fight the "Russian Science Experience" you need to get a good nights sleep and wake-up in reality. Your going to fight yourself on your back in a submission and you won't be happy. A focused Liddell might be able to stop Fedor. A party-all-night Liddell will find himself waking up in a cage with a referee standing over his head explaining to him that he was just knocked out. As for Sylvia and Couture, be ready, because "The Russian Science Experiment" will be.