The Old Guard

Fedor Emelianenko’s retirement put a stamp on a whole generation of MMA

Edward Carbajal
4 min readFeb 9


As we enter the second month of the new year, we go to see something in MMA that made this young sport feel old, the announcement of a match-up for two guys that need it, and an undermarketed UFC pay-per-view that should have more eyeballs on it.

Those are the topics for this week’s newsletter.

Fedor’s last fight

Fedor Emelianenko fought for the last time at Bellator 290.

Photo: Bellator MMA

“The Last Emperor” like many fighters before him went out on his shield against current Bellator MMA heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader. It’s a fight many knew the outcome of, but fans like myself were hoping his “puncher’s chance” was greater than most. It wasn’t though.

The first jab Bader threw that landed seemed to snap Emelianenko’s head back and by then we all saw the outcome we got. A TKO at the 2:30 mark of round one. The 46-year-old former Pride GP Champion, heavyweight champion, was finished.

Smiling is not something Emelianenko did a lot in his career but his stoic demeanor was part of what made him popular in his prime. Nowadays, champions seem to need to be vocal and great trash talkers to get bumped up in their respective rankings, but Emelianenko didn’t need to say much, he did all his talking in the ring.

There are some that don’t agree with Emelianenko being one of the best heavyweights in a sport that is still so young, but the numbers speak for themselves and if you need to see some of those numbers, the NY Post’s Scott Fontana posted some for reference:

The new MMA fan is likely a UFC fan, so for those that weren’t around to see Emlianenko’s come-up in Pride Fighting Championships, you should check out some of his matches. If you want a reference point, I…



Edward Carbajal

Interests in Martial Arts, Literature, Civil War History, Horror. Contributor to; Sherdog,, One37 PM &