Chael Sonnen is never shy of giving his honest opinion, and he has a strong one on MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, the self-titled “bad guy” didn’t hold back in his assessment of the Russian, saying “He’s definitely overrated, but he’s not that highly rated. The people who listen to your show, the people who listen to my podcast, we have some hardcore fans. They watched him over in Japan. They watched some of those matches and they’re more than happy to forget when he came over to the states and actually did a sanctioned fight with a real referee that’s not wearing an earpiece. They forgot about those. The average human being doesn’t have the foggiest idea of who he is. And history is not going to reflect well on Fedor Emelianenko, as far as his MMA career goes.”
It’s not the first time that Sonnen has spoken negatively about Fedor, or even about the Japanese organisation, PRIDE, that he alludes to above. He famously alleged that the big names in PRIDE, including Mirko Cro Cop, Wanderlei Silva and Fedor, had their fights fixed by the organisation so that they won. He branded the records of these fighters, particularly Wanderlei, as “fake” and Sonnen believes that Fedor is going back to the path of least resistance.
“Here’s what you want to do,” Sonnen continued. “You want to fight the easiest guy that you can for the biggest paycheck. Fedor, he’s doing that really well. Who’s in Japan right now? What’s the parity? Who are they gonna match him up with? There’s not even a sweepstakes for Fedor right now. There’s no division whatsoever, so the likelihood that he gets an easy draw and sells a bunch of tickets doing it, I think there’s a pretty good chance there. I think for his skill set and where he’s at, that makes sense. Don’t forget, he’s not coming back to win championships. He’s coming back to make some money.”
Sonnen was not finished there, however, going on to question fans who believed Fedor could have been competitive in the UFC. He claimed that signing to fight for Rizin Fighting Federation in Japan is Fedor’s way of telling the MMA community that he is not good enough to fight in the UFC and that fans need to open their eyes and accept it. He even went as far as to compare Fedor with former street fighter, Kimbo Slice.
“Fans assess Fedor constantly. They have no idea what they’re talking about,” Sonnen claimed. “I hear things said about Fedor where I’m just sitting there rolling my eyes. I had to live through this with Kimbo Slice. I had to live through this where the fans’ perception gets so far off that they don’t know what they’re seeing. Fedor can give you a very good assessment of himself. He knows where he’s at. So when he puts himself over there in Japan and goes, ‘I can make a few bucks doing this, I can stay busy and I don’t have to fight those guys in the UFC,’ that ends the argument. His fans always want to come out, ‘You’d do so well in the UFC.’ Look, if he’s telling you that he won’t, you’ve gotta listen to him.”
There will, of course, be those who agree with Sonnen’s claims, and also those who will strongly disagree with them. But, with Fedor now contracted to fight in Japan, the question of whether or not Fedor could be a success in the UFC appears destined to be one which will never be answered.
RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2017: 1st Round Results
The first day of RIZIN FF action is in the books after a action packed yet bizarre night/morning of fights. We now have the semi finalists of the bantamweight GP which will take place on the stacked New Years Eve card. The card displayed plenty of Japanese MMA talent, 3 of which are in the semi finals of the bantamweight GP. The undercard featured plenty of close fights including upsets over Reina Miura and Anthony Birchak. The full results are as follows:
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Gabriel Oliveira via TKO (punches) – Round 1 – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket A)
Manel Kape def. Ian McCall via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 1 – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket A)
Shintaro Ishiwatari def. Kevin Petshi via knockout (punch) – Round 1 – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket B)
Takafumi Otsuka def. Khalid Taha via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3 – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket B)
Jiri Prochazka def. Karl Albrektsson via TKO (punches) – Round 1
Cindy Dandois def. Reina Miura via split decision
Jae Hoon Moon def. Anthony Birchak via split decision – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal reserve bout
Kai Asakura def. Kizaemon Saiga via TKO (punches, knee) – Round 2
Kana Watanabe def. Shizuka Sugiyama via unanimous decision
Kiichi Kunimoto def. Satoru Kitaoka via unanimous decision
Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship
28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.
Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.
While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.
If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.
While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.
Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship
After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.
The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.
Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.
Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.
“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen
ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017
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