As if Ken Shamrock-Royce Gracie 21-years-later wasn’t enough news for fans late Friday night, AXS TV’s Inside MMA program reported that Fedor Emelianenko’s New Year’s Eve opponent is set, and it will be a rubber match against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka.
Emelianenko has a loss on his record to Kohsaka from Dec. 2000, with a grazing elbow following a missed punch opening up a cut that caused it to be stopped just 17 seconds into the fight. That would be the sole loss on Emelianenko’s record until the submission loss to Fabricio Werdum in Strikeforce nearly ten years later.
The two met a second time in April of 2005, with Emelianenko scoring a doctor stoppage of his own after ten minutes of action at “Pride: Bushido 6.”
Emelianenko, 39, is returning to action after three years out to join new promotion Rizin from former Pride boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara. Kohsaka, 45, hasn’t fought in nearly a decade, with his last bout being a TKO loss to Mark Hunt in May of 2006.
Penick’s Analysis: I’m clearly not the demographic or the market for which these fights are getting made, because I don’t at all get the appeal. I don’t understand the mindset of those who legitimately want to see the 48-year-old Gracie against the what-will-then-be-52-year-old Shamrock in February, or the those who care to have anything to do with a 45-year-old Kohsaka returning after a decade out of the sport to be fed to Emelianenko again. It just doesn’t make sense to me that there are people who have any desire to see fights like these.