The place was Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. The date was April 28, 2018. The show was Bellator 198: “Fedor vs. Mir” and the main event was part of the much-hyped Heavyweight Grand Prix. On a personal note, I had the good fortune to cover the event live on behalf of MMAmania.com, and it exceeded my expectations in every way.
Every fight on the live broadcast was a finish via submission before the fight night culminated in a battle between Fedor Emelianenko (36-5, 1 NC) and Frank Mir (18-11). Both were former Heavyweight champions — Pride FC and UFC, respectively — but only one could advance to the next round of the tournament.
The weird thing about mixed martial arts (MMA) is people will ask if I was disappointed when I spent a lot of time, effort and/or money to see a fight when it ended in less than one minute. Absolutely not! I enjoy an epic war as much as anybody, but I also enjoy seeing a fighter create a memorable moment you’ll never forget, and for 48 seconds that night Mir and Emelianenko gave me memories to last a lifetime.
Mir landed at least one shot that seemed to give Emelianenko pause, but in the grander scheme of things it was the Russian legend who dominated the fight. Emelianenko has never been the biggest Heavyweight, but he hits as hard as any guy twice his size, and once he clipped Mir in the “sweet spot” by his ear, Mir was going face down hard and fast.
Emelianenko was ultimately unable to capture another world title to cap off his historic career, but for one night “PRIDE NEVER DIE” felt as real as you could possibly imagine.
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