Fedor Emelianenko will make his long-anticipated return to Mixed Martial Arts this weekend, facing no other than the Brazilian heavy-hitter Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. The fight will open the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, as the winner is expected to advance into the semi-finals against either Alistair Overeem or Fabricio Werdum.

The fight between Emelianenko and Antonio Silva is another classic “Fedor Fight”. Once again, “The Last Emperor” is facing a significantly larger opponent, who’s all overall looks physically superior to the Russian. Silva will be four inches taller than Fedor, and probably around 45 pounds heavier. On top of that, Bigfoot will enjoy a huge eight-inch reach advantage, which could be a deadly tool during the fight.

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The thing about Fedor is that he’s an overweight Light Heavyweight, who made a career out of fighting bigger guys. And the victories against fighters such as Semmy Schilt, Gary Goodridge, Zuluzinho, Tim Sylvia, Hong Man Choi, Brett Rogers and many others is a perfect example. Yes, skill level between these fighters was different, but the result was quite the same.

Fedor’s incredible hands speed and the thunderous punching power are a key factor against any Heavyweight in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. By nature, Fedor is faster than most of his opponents, as what first seems as a significant disadvantage, quickly becomes a deadly weapon.  Combination of elite grappling skills makes “The Last Emperor” one of the most complete fighters in the sport today.

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The only thing that can raise questions is Fedor’s decision not to make changes in his training camp. Of course, you don’t change the winning tactic. However, many people will suggest that it was Emelianenko’s decision not to train alongside top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belts, which played a vital part behind defeat against Werdum. And even after the fight against Fabricio Werdum, “The Last Emperor” did not change anything within his training camp. He’s still training with relatively small Heavyweights, while the likes of Shane Carwin are staying at home.

Silva coming to this fight at the prime time of his career. The Brazilian proved a lot during his recent performances under the Strikeforce banner, and will surely look to make a statement against someone like Fedor.  Holding Black Belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Karate, Bigfoot definitely has the required skill set to deliver “The Last Emperor” his second straight defeat. But still, unfortunately for Silva, he doesn’t have something Fedor never faced throughout is Mixed Martial Arts career.

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The fight on Saturday night will be a very important proving ground for both men. Antonio Silva will look to solidify his spot as a Top 10 fighter in the world, while Fedor will look to demonstrate once again why he’s considered by many as “The Baddest Man on the Planet”.

Photos: Strikeforce.com