Emelianenko enters Ishii New Year brawl as favorite
Being considered the Baddest Man on the Planet for a decade and then falling from the throne of mixed martial arts, Fedor Emelianenko has been through it all.
His career was at its peak in 2003 when he won the heavyweight title he would never lose in one of the most prestigious MMA promotions at that time – PRIDE.
He did this in Japan and gained his famous nickname, the Last Emperor.
And he reigned supreme until June 2010. Brazilian Fabricio Werdum sent shockwaves through the sport when he made Fedor tap out for the first time in his life.
Two more defeats, at the hands of Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson, spoke for themselves – Fedor was no longer the best.
Nevertheless, he stayed in the game to the joy of those who still thought he was the greatest.
Then in Moscow, November 20, Emelianenko claimed an undisputed victory over Jeff Monson.
This win was a good way to regain confidence, but still not enough to silence the naysayers.
Now the Last Emperor is returning to the Land of the Rising Sun to continue his revival.
On New Year's Eve, the 35-year-old will face a Japanese up-and-comer – the 2008 Olympic judo champion Satoshi Ishii.
His record of four wins and one defeat may not be impressive. However, Satoshi is 10 years younger and desperate to establish his name at the summit of mixed martial arts.
Though there is no less at stake for Fedor, who is facing a much tougher task than mounting the throne. The Last Emperor is fighting to get it back.