HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) — Dan Henderson stopped Fedor Emelianenko in a Strikeforce M-1 Global heavyweight bout Saturday night.
After 28 consecutive victories and nearly a decade of perfection, Emelianenko suffered his third straight defeat, putting his career in question. He wouldn’t commit to a future fight with Strikeforce.
“I can’t really say right now. That is something I need to sit down and talk with my manager and my team and see what kind of opportunities and offers are out there,” said Emelianenko through a translator.
Both fighters came out swinging at the bell, but the pace quickly slowed. With under a minute left, Fedor knocked Henderson down.
Henderson (31-4-1), the current light heavyweight champion, quickly recovered and turned Emelianenko over and pounded him with a body blow then with a flurry of right upper cuts to Fedor’s head before referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 4:12.
“He knocked me down. I was aware the whole time, then I was just working to get on a single leg and I think I knocked him off balance, pulled him over the top of me, took his back and saw an opening for a nice upper cut when he was on his hands and knees and just dropped him. I didn’t think he was expecting that at that time,” said Henderson.
Emelianenko thought Dean called it too soon.
“It seems to me, yes. I was ready to continue fighting,” said Emelianenko.
Emelianenko (28-8) is 1-2 since joining Strikeforce and doesn’t know if a rematch with Henderson is possible.
“Dan is a wonderful fighter. I have always followed his career and he is a great fighter, but in there I felt I could go toe to toe with him and win the fight. With regard to a rematch, we will see, but it seems like a lot of potential rematches built up in the last few fights,” Emelianenko said.