Fedor Emelianenko vs Andrei Arlovski: The Break Down

Jaime MorenoCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2009

I decided not to do a full breakdown for "Affliction 2: Crap Card", so instead I’m going to focus my energy on the one match-up that has people talking. I’m doing this because I feel people on this site and others are judging the fight purely on favoritism and not on what are legitimate arguments.If you’re going to write something try to be objective, not bias.

I’m going to make my pick for this fight based on three criteria: Overall stand-up abilities, Overall ground abilities, and other certain intangibles. Each criterion will be broken up in to several key points, For example: Overall Standup can be broken down to better chin, better hands, better kicks and so on. 

With that said let the breakdown begin.

Overall Stand-up

Many people have argued that this is an easy win in the stand-up game for Arlovski. However, before we just give it to him let’s look at the record books. Arlovski is 14-5 with 10 TKO or KO victories. All of those TKO or KO wins have been by punches, and let all be honest here, for a Heavyweight it’s understandable why Andrei left the UFC and probably won’t be signing with them anytime soon.

His hands are legitimate boxing level, even prior to training with Freddie Roach. He is very technical with his punches and for that matter his leg kicks. One of the best examples of his much improved leg kicking ability was the fight versus Fabrico Werdum.  Werdum’s inside left leg was damn near raw from the repeated kicks by Arlovski. 

Fedor on the other hand has only has five wins via TKO of his 28 total victories. But if you look deeper into his fights one can see that instead of finishing fights via punches he uses his punching power to stun his opponents and get the fight to the ground for submissions. The Fujita fight is a great example of this. 

Midway into the first round, Fedor used a perfect left hook to get Fujita wobbly and take him to the ground to finish via RNC. He does this by choice and it works for him. His stand-up, while at times sloppy, is very effective. You cannot deny his overwhelming brute power.  

The part of the stand-up game that is often over looked is the ability for a fighter to take a punch. Arlovski has five losses in his career and only one of those losses was by a decision; the other four were by TKO or KO. Now he was hit by some heavy hitters in those losses, like Pedro Rizzo and Tim Sylvia, but he has also lost by TKO to the not so heavy handed Ricco Rodriguez. 

Fedor, on the other hand, has never lost via TKO. For that matter, I can only remember a handful of times that he has ever been hurt. Fedor is known for his hard head; a great example was the suplex he took by Randleman where the entire MMA world thought they saw the first death in MMA. 

To recap: Arlovski has an overwhelming striking advantage over Fedor. His hands are faster, and more technically sound, but Fedor can take a punch better then Arlovski.  Arlovski should have a reach advantage in this fight and really needs to use it to keep Fedor at bay. If not Fedor will use his power to get it to the ground. Arlovski win the stand-up portion of this competition.

Overall Ground Game

Again this round could and should go to Fedor, but I want to take a look at the record here as well. Of Fedor’s wins over 50% have been by submission, compared to only 23% for Arlovski. 

Fedor is a well decorated Sambo fighter having one of the highest rankings a Sambo fighter can have as a “Master of Sport.” His game is at the top of the Heavyweight ladder and more impressive than most BJJ black belts, minus maybe Big Nog. On the submission front, Fedor has it no question. 

Arlovski is no joke when it comes to his Sambo experience.  He has also achieved Master of Sport in Sambo by winning a Silver medal at the World Sambo Cup in 1999.  The main difference when it comes to his submission game is that he uses his grappling skills to keep the fight standing.

However, before anyone thinks that he will have the overwhelming ability to keep it stand consider this.  In his last fight versus Roy Nelson, Nelson was able to get Arlovski to the ground and at one time had dominate side control position on Arlovski, until the ref stood them up. If Roy Nelson can get Andrei down then so should Fedor.   

To recap: Fedor has a much more dominate submission game the Andrei. However, Andrei will use his game to try and keep the fight standing. Fedor wins this portion of the competition. 

The Intangibles

Intangible No. 1: Andrei Arlovski is currently working with one of the best boxing trainers of all time and that cannot be overlooked. Freddie Roach can game plan with the best of them and can probably study and break down film better than any other person in the Combat sport game; people should not over look this.

Freddie isn’t a BJJ coach but he doesn’t have to be, because his job is to make Arlovski better at his standup and trust me it will show come Saturday. 

Intangible number two: Fedor has more experience and has more fights against better opponents. The list includes Cro Cop, Nogueria, Lindland, Coleman, Herring, and on and on. Arlovski just doesn’t have that type of list, and has at times looked tentative or out of place when he has been in with the top level heavyweights.

In the second fight with Sylvia he jumped in way to fast when he thought Tim was hurt and ate an uppercut for his troubles. When he fought Werdum he never tried to use his striking advantage to end the fight, deciding to get the decision. 

Intangible number three: Could Arlovski be looking ahead to a promising boxing? Money is a funny thing and if he goes into boxing the money is much, much superior then in MMA. The only worry I have about his new found love with Freddie Roach is that they have a future planned in boxing and that can’t be good for the present. 


So now we move to the prediction part of the article and my thought is this: This fight will be an epic fight no matter how you look at it. I firmly believe that it will go into the later rounds before we see a winner. The outcome of this fight will be who can use their game plan better and I see Fedor being able to do that.

I see it close at first with Arlovski keeping Fedor away with his reach advantage. Then late in round three Fedor getting top position and staying there until he sinks in a submission. 

The winner will be Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko via arm bar in the third round.

Side note: this will be Affliction’s last event in the US but not ever.