Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem saw his very desired possible match up with Fedor Emelianenko circle the drain Saturday night, as Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva handed “The Last Emperor” his second legitimate defeat by beating his eye into a state that prompted the doctor’s to stop the fight in between rounds. Had Emelianenko gotten past Silva and if Overeem gets past his upcoming opponent Fabricio Werdum, the two would have met in the semi-final round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in what would have been a huge fight for the promotion and for the fans. Instead, the winning fighter has moved on, Emelianenko has been left to ponder his future.
Overeem spoke with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani following Silva’s win over Emelianenko, which he was not surprised by and admitted to having mixed feelings about.
“Well, a hard battle, a hard fight,” Overeem said when asked what he had just witnessed. “A very convincing fight of Silva, he wore him down, he damaged him and then after the second round, in the intermission, he couldn’t continue. The doctor stepped in and he quit the fight. Was it a big shock? No. Or this would have happened, or Fedor would have caught him in some sort of surprise, which he is a master in. But it went this way, and like I said, it was not a really big shock.”
Like many, Overeem cited a seemingly diminished motivation in Emelianenko–and quite the opposite in Silva–as a likely reason for his loss.
“Silva’s very motivated and his team around him is strong,” Overeem said. “Fedor didn’t seem that motivated, here in the States. It seems that he is not really into all the media attention. …But he fought like a lion today and he showed what he’s worth, he didn’t give up. He’s a true warrior.”
Though he credited Silva for performing very well against Emelianenko, Overeem indicated that he didn’t find the stoppage to be necessary and that he feels the bout could have been allowed to continue for the last round.
“In my opinion they could have let it go on,” he said. “I mean, Fedor wanted it to go on and that third round would have been amazing.”
Overeem will start his leg of the tournament this April 9th, when he takes on previous opponent Fabricio Werdum in the quarter-final round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.