Rogers appears best fit to battle Russian champ Emelianenko
With everyone playing matchmaker the past two days, I figure why not chime in before the udder runs dry and Affliction's mess is resolved.
In an interview with Sherdog's
Buentello could salvage a heavyweight main event without ruining a great clash between ranked middleweights --
If an interesting heavyweight -- perhaps
Yet, Affliction Entertainment vice president
I needed a new way of thinking, so later in the day I focused on Emelianenko's preference of
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.
But that's pipe-dream stuff.
On 10 day's notice, in shape now to handle a three round fight, Rogers is going to step in and beat Fedor Emelianenko? Unlikely. But Strikeforce and Showtime need not worry about it crushing his career. There's an inherent cushion that comes with taking a fight on short notice. No one would expect him to win, and if Rogers' undefeated record disappears, at least Fedor would be the one to do it. Everyone loses in MMA. My guess is a Rogers' stumble would be forgiven and forgotten before he leaves the ring.
How likely is all this?
Mid-day Thursday, even though Strikeforce executive
Weighing the odds, Rogers' manager
Rogers is one of several fighters who have either agreed in principle or said they would fight Fedor. Among others are Lawal,
Atencio hoped a decision would be made Friday.
If, in the end, Belfort lands the slot versus Fedor, Affliction will need to hustle to find Santiago an opponent.
Though rumors swirled that
"A week isn't enough time," he said. "Everyone keeps asking me. I guess it's a big rumor."