Last month, Fabio Maldonado and Fedor Emelianenko squared off in a highly anticipated heavyweight showdown in the main event of EFN 50 in Russia.
In the first round, Maldonado rocked Emelianenko for almost the entire round, nearly finishing the MMA legend. While the fight arguably could have been stopped, the referee allowed the fight to continue.
Between the first and second rounds, Emelianenko recovered quite a bit. Going on to win the second and third rounds by tactically picking apart Maldonado.
The judges scored the fight in favor of Emelianenko, giving him the majority decision win. While the decision was a rather controversial one in the eyes of many, Maldonado has been nothing but respectful.
He spoke to Sherdog about the fight:
“My plan was to dirty box with him. I wanted to brawl with crosses on the fence. He’s much faster than I am, so I wanted to put him on the fence and exchange crosses. If I allowed him to fight in the middle, he could use his speed advantage to take me down.”
“I’ve seen many fights get stopped for less than what I did to Fedor, but I can’t complain about the referee. Fedor was well-trained, and because of that, he recovered between rounds. The only thing I questioned was when the referee stopped the fight at the worst time to give Fedor his mouthpiece back, and of course, it helped him recover. Still, I should have finished the fight. I also got tired in the second round, and that wasn’t the judges’ fault.”
While Maldonado’s team planned to appeal the decision, there have reportedly been negotiations for Maldonado and Emelianenko to have a rematch.
“There have been negotiations. For me, it would be an honor to fight him again. As I said, fighting him was like playing basketball with Michael Jordan.”