Andrei Arlovski was thought to be the biggest test in recent years for Fedor Emelianenko when the two squared off at Affliction M-1 Day of Reckoning this past Saturday night. Arlovski was the bigger, faster, younger fighter who beholds the ability to out box Fedor to hand him the first “real defeat” of his career.
The fight for Fedor was more than just a title fight; it’s a chance to prove something to the critics. There is, and forever will be, an arbitrary argument as to whom the best pound for pound fighter in the world is.
Since 2006 Fedor has found himself near the top of that list in the minds of many, but usually plays second fiddle to Anderson Silva for the crown. Many say Fedor doesn’t fight often enough and doesn’t always fight top level competition, hence there’s no way he can be number one, despite his impressive resume. All of which are credible annotations, but don’t tell the whole story.
A win vs. Arlovski would be his second straight win over a former UFC heavyweight champion. Fedor defeated Tim Sylvia in a mere 36 seconds back in June at Affliction Banned. Both Sylvia and Arlovski are not only former champions but they’re top ten talent, something recent opponents of Fedor have lacked.
As for the fight, after the opening bell rang it looked like the unthinkable was starting to take shape. Arlovski took it to Fedor right from the start landing kicks and punches to take control of the fight. It looked like Fedor was about to meet his match.
Arlovski sent Fedor into the ropes and jumped up for a flying knee and in the blink of an eye it was all over. All it took was one punch and the curtain fell on the upset attempt. With catlike reflexes Fedor snapped off a devastating right hand that connected flush on Arlovski’s chin, crumbling him to the floor, out cold.
For the first 3:13 of the first round Fedor was losing, but in a split second he changed everything. He had successfully defended his WAMMA heavyweight title and simultaneously changed the order of the best pound for pound fighter list.
Despite being undefeated since ’06 Silva no longer held the distinction as the world’s best fighter. It sounds unfair and almost has a Bowl Championship Series type feel to it, to exchange the crown without title holder losing, but at times unfair happens. Sometimes one moment, no matter how tiny of an event or how colossal it is can change everything.
Both men are at the top if their game, and both have barely even began to taste defeat in years, Silva has only dropped one round recently to Dan Henderson. Both are extremely skilled at their craft and have very few, if any, holes in their fighting abilities. One of the biggest shames is that we probably won’t ever see these two face-off, to once and for all end this debate. It’s unrealistic to ask Silva to fight at heavyweight and inconceivable to have Fedor drop down a weight-class.
So the question still might be the source of hours and hours of online fodder, but the answer to just who’s the best pound for pound fighter is in the world is simply Fedor.