Photo by Esther Lin/STRIKEFORCE via M-1 Global.
In the main event of M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Monson, The Last Emperor Fedor Emelianenko dominated Jeff Monson over the course of three rounds to win a unanimous decision. This win snaps Fedor's 3 fight Strikeforce losing streak and brings his overall record to 33-4, 1 NC, while Monson is now 43-13.
From the early stages of the fight, it was clear that the end was never in doubt. Fedor was simply too skilled on his feet and too fast for the sluggish Monson, who had nothing to offer the former pound for pound king.
In round 1, Fedor showed off a more technical approach to his striking. Using a mix of punches and leg kicks, Fedor patiently worked over Monson. Monson tried getting the fight to the ground, but only offered up slow shots from the outside with no set-up that Fedor easily avoided. At one point, Monson did manage to close the distance and try to throw Fedor to the mat, but the Russian reversed it, secured top position, and then simply backed out to keep the fight standing.
Round 2 was more of the same, with Fedor beating up Monson standing. As the fight progressed, Monson became more desperate to take the fight down, flopping to his back on multiple Fedor punches in a scene reminiscent of this year's Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum Strikeforce fight. Fedor never took the bait, remaining calm and standing for the rest of the fight, slowly picking Monson apart. When the final bell rang, Monson was limping and bloody, while Fedor had not been cleanly hit a single time.
Fedor declared himself "a new Fedor" in the post-fight speech, and there is some truth there. Emelianenko was much more cautious here, refusing to dive in and make the mistake that cost him against Werdum, and refusing to over-engage in the stand-up or get into a brawl. It was a technically sound and impressive showing. But it also didn't result in a finish, which will no doubt draw some negative responses as Fedor was perhaps too tentative, too risk-averse against a clearly over-matched opponent.
Up next for Fedor looks to be a return to Japan to face Olympic judoka Satoshi Ishii on New Year's Eve.