If things had gone according to plan last night then Fedor Emelianenko would have defeated Fabricio Werdum and set up a blockbuster fight with Alistair Overeem for the Strikeforce heavyweight title.
‘The Last Emperor’s’ 69 second defeat has thrown those plans into disarray however and now the promotion have to quickly get back to the drawing board.
By rights Fabricio Werdum should now go on to fight Overeem for the title – but it appears Strikeforce have other plans.
“I think more people are going to want to see the rematch,” Coker told MMAjunkie.com. “That’s how I feel. [Emelianenko] is going to come back, and I wouldn’t want to be the one to fight him in a rematch. You’re going to see him come out with a vengeance.”
So it seems that yet again the promotion will throw the rule-book out the window, as they did when Brett Rogers fought for Overeem’s title earlier this year despite having just been beaten by Fedor.
“A lot of it is going to depend on what M-1 wants to do. They will have some say,” Coker noted tellingly.
Speaking of which, M-1 Global’s Vadim Finkelchtein appeared sold on the idea of an immediate rematch.
“Fabricio Werdum, this is the first fighter who managed to defeat Fedor. That’s why I certainly would thing it would be a great thing to have a rematch to be able to prove that Fedor is still the best.”
With Fedor’s long unbeaten run gone there’s now a risk that his mystique has gone with it, but on the contrary Coker believes that a rematch could be a must-see fight.
“That should be a pay-per-view fight. [Werdum vs. Emelianenko II] is a fight fans are going to want to see. He dethroned the king.”
Perhaps he’s right, but it’s a gamble, and in the cold light of day the reality is that his is not going to shift the same numbers that a Fedor – Overeem showdown would have if Emelianenko had been victorious last night.
Nonetheless it seems they have their heart set on the rematch. In fairness there aren’t a whole lot of other enticing options available to them. Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva springs to mind, but that’s far from being a blockbuster to end his current contract on. They could put on a rematch with Andrei Arlovksi, but considering ‘The Pitbull’ is currently on a three fight losing streak it wouldn’t do much for Fedor’s reputation.
So all indications are that it will be Werdum. The only potential spanner in the works is Alistair Overeem. He is the champion after all, and after stating publicly that he was looking forward to fighting the winner of Fedor Vs Werdum, it appears he will now be fighting neither.
It will be interesting to see how he feels about that, especially considering he’s only just come back from a two year break from the promotion due to a lack of good fights being available to him in Strikeforce at the time.
If he starts pushing his weight around and calling for a fight with either Fedor or Werdum then Strikeforce may have to rethink their plans yet again.