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18th Jun 2016

Fedor Emelianenko “wins” one of the craziest, most controversial fights ever against Fabio Maldonado


Ben Kiely

Well, the highly-anticipated most recent return of Fedor Emelianenko certainly wasn’t boring anyway.

The legendary heavyweight headlined the EFN 50 event in Russia against former UFC fighter Fabio Maldonado in a bout that he was expected to coast to victory.

However, Maldonado didn’t get the memo and came out all guns blazing, having the Russian on the cusp of being rendered unconscious several times throughout the three-round fight.

Fedor opened fire with some huge haymakers early on but Maldanado kept his composure and caught his opponent with a seismic right – left combination that sent Emelianenko stumbling to the ground. The Brazilian pounced and started raining down with thunderous strikes on his grounded opponent.

Remarkably, the referee did not stop the fight despite Fedor clearly not defending himself intelligently. Even well respected referee Marc Goddard, who officiated Cathal Pendred’s stunning comeback victory against Mike King in his UFC debut, thought that it should have been stopped in the first round.

Bloody Elbow journalist Karim Zidan may have cracked the case as to why the referee didn’t stop the fight.

There was more controversy after the opening round, when some people suspected Fedor’s corner of using smelling salts to revive the weary fighter.

This slow-motion replay courtesy of Reddit user Zulawski shows his cornermen rubbing his nose with a towel, which may have been concealing something, although this is merely speculation and nothing has been proven.

Fedor seemed to recover in the second round and began to take the edge in the striking, but the exhausted Maldonado rocked him again a couple of times before the fight somehow went the distance.

Maldonado will feel hard done by with the result. It appeared as though he earned  a 10-8, or possibly 10-7 first round with Emelianenko taking the last two rounds 10-9. However, the judges didn’t see it that way and gave Emelianenko a majority decision.