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Does Fedor Deliver MMA’s Hardest Punch?

Does Fedor punch harder than this guy?

Does Fedor punch harder than this guy?

It sometimes seems as if Fedor Emelianenko couldn’t punch a speed bag at full force without popping something lose in his hand. Almost every time Fedor throws down it seems as if a hand injury announcement is on the immediate horizon, with his most recent bout with Brett Rogers being no exception to the rule.

The point being that Fedor, quite simply, punches way too hard for his own good. The velocity behind the power of his punch is just too much for his joints to withstand. A unique problem to have, no doubt.

So is Fedor the hardest punching mixed martial artist on the face of the earth right now? The eight knockouts in his thirty-one victories would scream at the average noob that this is not the case, yet if you’ve seen more than a few Fedor fights in your time, you should know this question is not to be so quickly dismissed or ridiculed.

I’ve heard from people sitting in the “cheap seats” during “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers”, and they compared the sound of the knockout punch that was sent crashing into the chin of “Grim” to a baseball bat smacking against a watermelon no more than five or ten feet from them. Reminiscent of being in the expensive section of a Gallagher concert.

In what came as a complete shock to most, Fedor made it quite clear who the harder puncher was in the first round when he landed a left hook to the jaw of the much larger power puncher that caused Rogers massive body to shift nearly 90 degrees. Nobody expected that.

It’s not like this is the first time Fedor has knocked out a top heavyweight with a single punch, just ask Andrei Arlovski, he’ll tell you. Furthermore, I’m fairly certain if you asked Tim Sylvia who gave him the hardest smack in the course of his career…. I mean sure, he’d have to give Ray Mercer some love, but outside of that I’d imagine it would have to be Fedor.

That’s three fights in a row the decorated Sambo practitioner has deposited a larger, top rated heavyweight flat on their face in the blink of an eye through the power in his fists.

A fan of the sport since before Mark Coleman made his UFC debut, I was well familiar with the term ground and pound, yet the first time I feel like I truly witnessed what I believe to be ground and pound was Fedor’s terrifying beatdown of Heath Herring in November of 2002. Anyone that has had an opportunity to view the bout knows exactly what I’m talking about. Violent, brutal ground and pound at it’s very finest. That was the bout where I first came to the realization that deep down, Fedor was a sick, twisted f…… an extremely dangerous and sadistic fighter. The sound of the blows constantly bouncing off of Herring’s face and head were eerily similar to the sound of pounding on a steak with a meat hammer. If you look close you can actually see Fedor grinning while delivering some of the punishment. Scary stuff.

Of course the power of a man’s punch can be misleading and subjective (unless of course, your name is Cecil Peoples) but I felt the question deserved to be asked.

If I had a single vote in the “most likely to knock my a** out with a single punch” poll, I’m voting Fedor.

28 COMMENTS
  • edub says:

    Another good one Cory.

    I think your right, although i think a case can be made for Manhoef(in case your wondering yes I have developed a man crush on him lately.

    I know both Fedor and Mercer hit big Timmy hard as hell, but I think Arlovski hit him the hardest. The whole left side of his face was bruised after one punch in their first fight.

  • Vogairian says:

    Fedor has 8 knockouts in 33 career fights, It’s not like he’s going out there and putting everyone to sleep, so I wouldn’t say he’s the hardest puncher by any means. However, I would say he’s the most opportunistic puncher which leads to these ugly looking knockouts. I would put Hendo up there with hardest punchers, Carwin is another I would have high on my list.

  • toodiesel says:

    Bas Rutten had a segment about Fedor’s hand injuries on Inside MMA a couple of months ago. He mentioned that it was because of the way Fedor throws his punches that causes all of his hand injuries.

  • edub says:

    toodiesel: Bas Rutten had a segment about Fedor’s hand injuries on Inside MMA a couple of months ago. He mentioned that it was because of the way Fedor throws his punches that causes all of his hand injuries.

    Diesel I didnt see it man was he talking about the angles? Or was he saying something similar to the article.

  • toodiesel says:

    edub:
    Diesel I didnt see it man was he talking about the angles? Or was he saying something similar to the article.

    He was talking about the angle at which fedor’s punches are thrown and land. Bas was alluding to Fedor’s history of hand problems, which I believe is what kept him out of numerous fights, including the 2006 GP.

  • HonorableAggression says:

    saying that because fedor repeatedly injures his hand is a sign of how hard he throws is pure folly. Anyone who’s ever broken their hand knows all that means is it’s much more prone to injury now. By that logic jens pulver is the hardest hitting man in mma history with 14 left (power) hand breaks.

  • toodiesel says:

    here’s Bas on the segment from the following week (after the Sylvia fight): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO1ms0nUe2s#t=2m56s

    he mentions they spoke about hand injuries (I’m guessing Fedor’s) the week before, but I haven’t found the vid online.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    If anybody has ever caught the episodes of sports science and seen the power demonstration put on by Bas they would know the answer to this question. Bas hit the dummy so hard the tech had him do it again because he did not belive the results, and Bas hit it even harder. Yes Fedor hits incredibly hard but he is probably not the hardest hitter, more likely the best at connecting with his bombs we will ever see.
    And as for only having 8 kos on record you have to remember he was fighting guys in Japan who were on whatever they wanted to be on

  • edub says:

    Thanx Diesel.

  • Kuch says:

    Fedor’s strength is that he throws the punch that no one ever sees which is typically what knocks a fighter out (or sets them up for the finish). If you watch him throw during a fight, his technique is actually terrible while his accuracy, speed and power are incredible. This allows him to land punches other heavyweights can’t (or won’t even get a chance to attempt).

  • Angry Mike says:

    Neijia posted a video link under another recent Fedor/Strikeforce article that demonstrated Fedor’s punching technique, which is somewhat unique to Sambo. Evidently the punch is thrown from the shoulder first in a looping, arcing fashion. It’s described as a “casting” motion, but it has more of a whipping effect in my mind. Anyway, the arcing character of the punch leaves the wrist and knuckles in a different alignment than the traditional linear strikes. It looks to me as if the mechanics of the punch contribute to the injuries as much as anything.

  • Bullylover says:

    fedor is definately one of the hardest hitting punchers in the game but i douubt he is “the hardest” hitter of them all.No doubt about it he has some of the most crucial knockouts ever.

  • Pajamashark says:

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    I’m sure Fedor punches very hard, but “way too hard for his own good”? He’s doing something wrong if his hand is always jacked up after fights. He could be punching wrong, or his hands are breaking down from constant injury over time.

    Although, I give you that Fedor with superhuman punch strength that breaks his own bones is a more appealing reason then Fedor with osteoporosis grandma-hips for hands.

  • neijia says:

    Angry Mike: Neijia posted a video link under another recent Fedor/Strikeforce article that demonstratedFedor’s punching technique, which is somewhat unique to Sambo.Evidently the punch is thrownfrom the shoulder first in a looping, arcing fashion.It’s described as a “casting” motion, but it has more of a whipping effect in my mind.Anyway, the arcing character of the punch leaves the wrist and knuckles in a different alignment than the traditional linear strikes.It looks to me as if the mechanics of the punch contribute to the injuries as much as anything.

    here is a link to the vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JISgLclfX3c

    Not sure what this motion does but it seems whip like with the fist like a sort of “dummy weight” on the end being “cast” by the arm — not really sure, just my impression looking at it. I think HonorableAggression has a good point – if Fedor has broken it before (via ground and pound), it’s likely prone to injury now. It’s really too bad.

    I agree it kind of screws up the cards. Overeem vs. Rogers doesn’t seem “fair” (not that “fair” is the criteria for business sense – everyone said the same thing about Lesnar getting an early title shot and now no one is complaining about that any more).

  • Dufresne says:

    I would have to put Fedor up in the top 10 hardest punchers, but I have to agree with Kuch and say that the reason he manages to get 1 shot knock outs is because he lands a decent shot, from a great angle, at the perfect time.
    We’ve all seen people take devastating shots and not go down (think Brock Lesnar crushing Heath Hearing’s orbital) and on the other end we’ve seen punches that looked weak, but left the opponent staring at the lights (think Silva v Griffin)

  • Rich S. says:

    I’m sure Fedor packs a pretty hard punch, but I wouldn’t put him up there with the heavy hitters.. He does swing big, but his punch doesn’t really LOOK that hard to me..

    When I think of the hardest punch in MMA, I think of those punches that make me wince..

    Delivered by guys like:

    Rampage
    Anthony Johnson
    Shane Carwin
    Robbie Lawler
    Thiago Alves
    etc..

  • BillyWarhol says:

    Not even Close – Fedor was No Big Whoop – I’d like to see him Fight some Folks like Belfort Carwin etc. + I do give Brett Rogers credit for going Toe to Toe with him – he deserves a ReMatch!!

  • Angry Mike says:

    I’m blaming the mechanics of his casting punch for the injuries. Although the rotation on the demo video on Neijia’s post may be exaggerated, it’s clearly the same motion. In the video clip in toodiesel’s clip, Bas also says that the mechanics of the punch cause injuries to Fedor’s hands. And Bas is the Pope of pugilism. The swami of swat. The foremost of fisticuffs. Somebody stop me.

  • mu_shin says:

    Hands are a miracle of natural design, and can do many miraculous things, but in no way did nature intend the human hand as a striking weapon. Training and forging can improve the ability of the hand to deliver and absorb punishment, but hand injuries have always been, and will always be a part of pugilistic combat. Ali had well known hand trouble throughout his career, and that’s wearing a bigger more padded boxing glove than the four ounce MMA glove.

    I also speak from personal experience, having broken the second knuckle on my left hand (thirty years ago) training on a makiwara board. After nerve damage led to surgery, I went through extensive rehab to regain function, and was never able to use the left the way I could before I broke it, at least in terms of bare hand contact. I can only imagine what fighters go through, trying to regain maximum punching power, knowing that the bones in the hands and wrists can be so vulnerable.

    Anybody remember Keith Hackney back in the day breaking both of his hands on the head of that six hundred pound sumo wrestler? Or Uriah Faber ending up in surgery after the second Milke Brown fight? Didn’t Alisair Overeem also have some hand trouble? Always going to be part of this game…

  • GassedOut says:

    Angry Mike: I’m blaming the mechanics of his casting punch for the injuries. Although the rotation on the demo video on Neijia’s post may be exaggerated, it’s clearly the same motion. In the video clip in toodiesel’s clip, Bas also says that the mechanics of the punch cause injuries to Fedor’s hands. And Bas is the Pope of pugilism. The swami of swat. The foremost of fisticuffs. Somebody stop me.

    Yeah, it’s the Sambo technique itself. It’s even worse if you land a glancing blow. Oh, I hurt the other guy (he walked around with a hell of a shiner for a couple of weeks), but I needed reconsructive surgery to put the pinky bone and knuckle back from shards around the wrist. Now the finger is slightly rotated in and sticks out at an altered angle (a very minor difference). Mind you, I did win by TKO, so all I had was the recovery time…about 6 months actually. (I get the medical suspension, boy…)

  • Angry Mike says:

    GassedOut:

    That’s really interesting. The older combat styles like karate emphasize punches with the knuckles of the index finger and middle finger and with the wrist aligned with the forearm. Sambo is a much newer style invented around the time of World War II. Old school wins this time. On the other hand, if the casting punch was intended primarily as an opening move to close distance and grapple, repetitive use as a fight ending technique may be a misapplication. I’ve never trained in Sambo so I’m just speculating.

  • neijia says:

    yeah, probably not supposed to abuse your hand repeatedly and against freakishly large skulls at that. I didn’t realize Hackney broke both hands. I thought I read he used open palms for a safer (for his hands) surface.

    In Fedor’s book he emphasizes that his fist should be 45 degrees inward at impact (45 degree rotated from the horizontal fist position of a boxing punch), which naturally lifts the shoulder a little more for extra protection of the chin. IIRC he never mentions casting. Will have to check. I think it’s clear though, that he has a tightened up casting motion. The distance closing is pretty cool. In general I think we’re seeing more sophisticated “bridging” skills in mma – not just the classic Gracie approach of feinted front kick to a double leg shoot or punch to MT clinch. Or it could just be Fedor and Machida. Not sure.

  • GassedOut says:

    Angry Mike:

    Yeah, I agree, in this case, old school wins. It’s typical to use this more as a move to close distance for grappling, takedown, or other inside nefariousness. I won’t say I’ve never used it since, but a shattered pinky bone in the middle of your hand sure makes you think twice the next time, regardless of effect.

    My thinking is that Fedor and others like him have higher pain thresholds than the rest of us, and that’s part of what makes a successful fighter. I know a couple of guys from my old Judo dojo that nothing but a gun could stop, and that gun had to be outside 21 feet and aimed right at them. I watched one of these guys shrug off a baseball bat hit to the midsection and drop his two opponents. (Okay, I had a bit of a storied youth.) Their dad, one of my instructors, had to be put in the back of a squad car by 6 police officers. Then he kicked the door off and took them all on again. That guy could grapple! And he was 5-foot-nuthin’. He did a stint in Russia in the 1970s…that’s where we learned some of the Sambo stuff in the early 1980s. It’s very Jiu-jitsu-like for the most part, but wow, the stuff you can do on your feet is awesome. Think Spetznas. Those guys are the baddest special ops on the planet, bar none, including Navy SEALs, though they’d be a close second.

  • Iconoclastic says:

    I believe he is the hardest puncher in MMA right now. He has that rare combo of ridiculous power (due to his old school training methods) and very good hand speed, which is also uncommon with fighters who (like him) are stocky and have a bit of a gut on them.

    That TKO punch he landed was extremely fast, technically perfect (he put is whole body behind that punch) 99% of fighters would have been left comatose on the mat, but I think this proves Rogers has a good chin because after the punch he kept his eyes lasered on Fedor, although he did turn away which, obviously, signaled that he had enough. I still see Rogers doing damage in this division possibly even becoming Champion (when Fedor is past his prime or retired) so down the line (after Rogers accomplishes more than 11 fights) people will realize that this was huge win for Fedor.

  • s00nertp says:

    Cory thanks for the article as usual, good read.

  • Niv says:

    Corey once again another great article.

    I for one have believed for a long time that Fedor is the biggest hitter in mma hands down. How many of his submissions came directly off of the power of his hands. Tim Sylvia was choked out soon as he tasted what Fedor had to offer.

    Angry Mike you’re correct I recently saw that video of the Sambo punch and that is exactly what Fedor throws every-time he throws a punch. It produces huge power and if he’s close and the opponent ducks under it, the transition to a throw comes right from it.

    Fedor has beaten more guys into a submission position than anyone I’ve ever seen before and that stems directly from his heavy hands.

    Long live the Last Emperor! I simply love to watch this guy fight.

  • Niv says:

    By the way if any of you are still questioning how hard Fedor hits click on this link, I laughed my ass off!

    http://www.mmatko.com/fedor-knocks-rogers-head-off-at-strikeforce-gif/comment-page-1/#comment-72650

  • LiNaK37 says:

    Wow, it’s hard to believe nobody has mentioned Igor Vovchanchyn yet. Harder than Fedor, harder than rampage. Igor is the definition of punching power. If you don’t know who he is, just type in his name on youtube and click on that first video that’s like 8 minutes long, there really is no match for the power of this man.

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