Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rogers appears best fit to battle Russian champ Emelianenko

Originally posted on

I needed a new way of thinking, so later in the day I focused on Emelianenko's preference of Brett Rogers --who entered in the heavyweight top 10 after walloping Andrei Arlovski in June -- over the likes of Belfort, the perceived front-runner and potentially bigger pay-per-view draw, and Buentello.

One person close to Emelianenko recently told me that, contrary to popular belief, the Russian champion is in charge of his destiny and it's laughable to think his management is manipulating him. I took it to mean he and the UFC remain far apart because Emelianenko wants it that way. Until he feels differently about competing in the Octagon, there isn't a real chance it will happen.

So when he says he wants Rogers, we should listen.


Rogers makes sense because he's ranked and undefeated in 10 fights. For Emelianenko, a loss against a challenger with a perfect record isn't nearly as debilitating as falling short against a blown-up middleweight or a heavyweight with double-digit losses on his résumé.

Meanwhile, a win for Rogers immediately sets up a big-money rematch, which you'd have to think would come under the Strikeforce banner since Rogers is its man. It would guarantee at least one more high-anticipation, big-money fight outside the UFC -- one, I imagine, that would give rise to quite a lot of fan and media interest. Depending on Roger's decisiveness of victory, Strikeforce could comfortably lay claim to promoting the top heavyweight in the world. And Showtime would stand to benefit by being Rogers' premium network home.

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