After a Strikeforce event that delivered a number of slow, methodical fights the main event was anything but as MMA legends Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko slugged it out toe-to-toe in a thrilling main event encounter.
Right from the off both men wasted no time in exchanging leather as Fedor came in with wild but powerful blows while Henderson was also swinging for the fences.
It was a blow from Hendo that had the first real impact of the fight though, appearing to send Fedor into reverse gear momentarily and allowing Henderson to close the distance and clinch the Russian up against the fence.
After a couple of minutes of clinch-work it looks as if the fight has completely slowed down, but that’s quickly proven not to be the case as they break free and then engage in another firefight with fists flying from all directions.
This time it’s Fedor who capitalizes, with several punches in a flurry of hooks and uppercuts landing, sending Henderson falling to the canvas.
Fedor smells blood and fires off more blows from the mat, but Henderson gets to his knees and cleverly works himself behind his opponent, immediately launching a ramrod strike under Fedor’s armpit that connects cleanly with his chin and plants him face first on the mat.
It looks like Fedor might be out cold, but no, after a brief moment it turns out that he’s still conscious and turns around to defend himself.
Unfortunately for ‘The Last Emperor’ referee Herb Dean has already made up his mind and has stepped into end the contest.
Henderson is ecstatic and leaps up onto the top of the cage to celebrate in front of the crowd who are raising the roof of the building in appreciation at the war they’ve just witnessed, while Fedor looks despondent.
It’s undoubtedly a controversial stoppage, and in my opinion it was stopped a little early, though I’d have no problem with anyone who disagrees.
Still, it’s a huge moment for both fighters with Henderson now in a strong position to negotiate a new contract with either Strikeforce or possibly even the UFC with his star very much on the rise at the age of 40, while questions will now be asked once again about the possibility of Fedor retiring.
If this was to be his last fight then he certainly went out on his shield and delivered an exciting fight for the fans.