On this day in MMA history, heavyweight MMA icon Fedor Emelianenko picked up an impressive 1st round submission win over Kazuyuki Fujita after nearly being finished by ‘Ironhead’ in the opening minutes of the fight.
Prior to the scrap, Emelianenko was riding a 10-fight win streak that saw ‘The Last Emperor’ look nearly unbeatable through his first 14 professional wins, which also included a 3-0 run under the Pride FC banner which saw Emelianenko defeat Semmy Schilt, Heath Herring, and then Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to win the Pride FC heavyweight championship.
On the other hand, Fujita was just 9-3 in his professional MMA career going into the fight, with his most recent win prior to the fight being a TKO win over Manabu Nakanishi.
When Fedor Emelianenko and Fujita stepped into the ring together, many gave Fujita no chance of defeating the streaking heavyweight champion. Just minutes into the fight, Fujita manages to stuff a takedown, before then being taken down just minutes later. After landing a clean left hand, Fujita then manages to land a big right hand moments later that leaves Emelianenko on wobbly legs as he looked to recover. The Last Emperor is then taken down, a rare sight, however he quickly makes it back to his feet before then being slammed by Fujita.
Noticeably wobbly still, Emelianenko once again makes it back to his feet, where he lands a big left hand that drops his opponent. ‘The Last Emperor’ takes his opponent’s back and secures the rear naked choke win, keeping his unbeaten streak in Pride in tact, and proving to the MMA world that he can overcome adversity.
The fight is regarded as one of the most notable wins in the first half of Emelianenko’s career given that no other fighter had made Emelianenko look beatable up until that point.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/8/2017.