There was the time when Fedor Emelianenko was dominant against the best fighters in the world, but unfortunately not so many people in Russia knew about at. Winning of the title against Big Nog, victory in Heavyweight Grand Prix, superfight against Cro Cop – none of these epic battles was shown on the TV or even mentioned in Russian sports outlets. Only a few hardcore fans from at Russian MMA messageboards followed the fights of the Last Emperor.
Everything started to change in 2005, when the founder of M-1 Global Vadim Finkelstein put PRIDE FC fights to the national TV channel named NTV. Fedor got the wide recognition, the number of his fans in Russia started to grow.
Only two years later Fedor fought in Ice Palace in St.-Petersburg in front of the sold out crowd, where the organizers even had to open the additional space for the fans. It was April 14, 2007, at Bodog Fight: Clash of the Nations event.
Fedor’s opponent was the star UFC veteran and Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling silver medalist Matt Lindland from USA, who was very popular at the moment. He won in 20 of his 24 pro fights and won against the multiple big name opponents. It was very experienced and dangerous opponent, so there was no underestimating of him from fans’ or Fedor’s side.
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