Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fedor Emelianenko says June 21 bout with Pedro Rizzo may be his last

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Fedor Emelianenko returns to his home country of Russia next month to take on former UFC Heavyweight Title contender Pedro Rizzo in Moscow. The fight is his third since his release from Strikeforce last summer, and according to Russian new outlet RIA Novosti, it may be his final fight.

"I think it's time to call it a day," Emelianenko told the outlet. "This fight may be my last one. I have been learning from Pedro's fights and have a lot of respect for him. He is a fighter of a great maturity, beating many of the strongest."

Rizzo returns to action in this fight for the first time since a win over Ken Shamrock in the summer of 2010. The 15-year MMA vet spent five years in the UFC, competing for the title on two occasions. Since leaving the UFC on a two fight winning streak in 2003, Rizzo has fought just nine times, going 5-4 in those bouts, and suffering brutal knockout losses to Sergei Kharitonov, Roman Zentsov, Josh Barnett, and Gilbert Yvel. However, he's unbeaten in his last three fights.

Emelinanenko rebounded from three straight losses in Strikeforce by defeating Jeff Monson in Moscow last fall. He followed that up with a win over Olympic Judoka Satoshi Ishii on New Year's Eve.

Penick's Analysis: If Emelianenko calls it a close following the bout on June 21, it will bring to an end the career of historically the greatest heavyweight fighter in the sport's young history. Though he faltered in the tail end of his run, losing three straight in Strikeforce, he still held a ten year unbeaten run, and is easily the greatest fighter to never compete in the UFC. If he decides to call it a career, few will argue with the decision, especially with a very limited pool of opposition outside of the UFC and little likelihood of him entering the Octagon. It will mean a great career goes out on a whimper, but nonetheless it was a great career.


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