1.) Decision Win Over Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic at Pride Final Conflict 2005:
There’s simply only one fight that could top this list of Emelianenko’s greatest victories, and that’s his thrilling unanimous decision win over Pride Grand Prix champion Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic. There’s certainly a case for this fight to be considered the biggest heavyweight bout of all-time, because while Brock Lesnar’s rematch with Frank Mir at UFC 100 may have drawn more eyeballs in terms of pay-per-view (PPV) views, it’s impossible to say this fight didn’t have more combined talent.
In a contrast of two styles, Emelianenko was supposed to be looking for his patented ground and pound to dominate feared knockout striker Crop Cop, who had made an extremely successful transition from K0-1 to MA with an amazing streak of high kick knockouts. But in 2005’s ‘Fight of the Year’ and even ‘Fight of the Decade’ for the 2000s, Fedor beat Crop Cop at his own game by out-striking in in close where he could not unleash his hellacious kicks.
This may be the biggest fight Pride ever put on, and is still arguably the biggest and best heavyweight fight in MMA. It was the defining moment for Fedor’s decorated career, and a bout you should absolutely view heading into his Bellator debut this weekend.
Overall, Emelianenko is a legend who cannot be denied his place in MMA history, even if he never makes it to the UFC. These fights proved his worth to the overall growth and development of the burgeoning sport we enjoy today, and for that, ‘The Last Emperor’ will forever go down in history.