I wish I could say it did. I really do.
I wish I could say that the world’s greatest heavyweight, the most consistent and dominant fighter in the history of the sport, fighting anyone is significant, but it’s not. Vitor Belfort (18-8 MMA, 7-4 UFC, #9 IWMMAR)
is a great fighter, but he’s a middleweight, and hasn’t fought a strict heavyweight since his bout with Heath Herring (28-14-0-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC)
in 2001. This is a guy who, while probably only 15-20 pounds lighter than Fedor Emelianenko (30-1-0-1 MMA, #1 IWMMAR)
, fights two weight classes lower, and is stepping in against a fighter who routinely beats fighters 30 pounds heavier than he is.
Giving Fedor a weight advantage is like giving Brock Lesnar (4-1 MMA, #2 IWMMAR)
an experience advantage. It’s overkill.
In fairness to Belfort, he’s coming off of an incredible win over Matt Lindland (21-6 MMA, 9-3 UFC)
, and finished him faster than Fedor did (and less controversially) when Lindland and Emelianenko met in Russia. But that’s not what the issue is. The issue is, Vitor is not a relevant opponent. With two recent wins over respectable, relevant opposition, Emelianenko was expected to meet a third, but he won’t.