December 31st, 2006
Fedor Emelianenko defended his heavyweight title for the third time at Pride Shockwave 2006 tonight. The Russian faced K-1 veteran Mark Hunt at the Saitama Super Arena.

Fedor has been expected to rematch Mirko Crocop, who won the openweight Grand Prix at Pride: ‘Final Conflict Absolute’. But yesterday it was confirmed that the Croatian has instead signed a contract with the UFC.

In his place stepped Hunt who was eliminated at the quarter final stage of the openweight Grand Prix by Josh Barnett. The New Zealander is best known for winning the K-1 World Grand Prix in 2001 but holds MMA wins over both Wanderlei Silva and Crocop.

Fedor missed out on the openweight Grand Prix due to a hand injury. But he scored a successful comeback at Pride 32 in Las Vegas a couple of months ago, submitting Mark Coleman early in the second round.

Bad spot

It took Fedor less than a minute to take Hunt down and mount him. The Russian immediately rolled for an armbar, the same submission he had used to finish Coleman.

It was a bad spot for Hunt who was competing in MMA for just the eighth time. But the 32 year old escaped and immediately mounted Fedor, before moving into side control.

With Hunt having tipped the scales at 290lbs it was an uncomfortable spot for the champion. Fedor started to get tangled up in the ropes so the referee reset them in the centre of the ring.

Hunt was digging his elbow into Fedor’s face but was unable to land any notable offence until the Russian got to his feet. The New Zealander struck him in the back of the head and received a warning from the referee for his troubles.

Narrow miss

Hunt was in his element and, having survived a submission attempt and reversed position on the ground, confidence must have been flowing through his veins. He immediately went to work with punching combinations, landing a straight right and narrowly missing with a left hook.

Fedor immediately secured a body lock and attempted a throw but once again he ended up on his back. Hunt was in side control for the second time in the fight and the Russian seemed to be really struggling with the near 60lbs size difference.

Hunt attacked with key locks and at one stage it looked like the K-1 veteran might be on the verge of submitting Fedor. He proceeded to briefly mount the champion who escaped and stood up while the challenger was being warned for grabbing the ropes.

They clinched up and Fedor looked to execute another throw but he was unsuccessful. But the Russian looked the fresher of the two and started to slowly take control of the contest.

Heavyweight great

He tripped an exhausted looking Hunt to the ground and landed in half guard. From there he locked in a kimura and the tap came quickly with the challenger grimacing in agony.

The finish came at the 8:16 mark and sees Fedor’s record improve to 26-1. Meanwhile Hunt drops to 5-3 but has only enhanced his reputation after giving the greatest heavyweight of all time one of the toughest tests of his entire career.

Next up for the champion will surely be a rematch with Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira. The Brazilian scored a unanimous decision win over Josh Barnett in the co-main event tonight.

Nogueira (29-4-1) avenged his split decision defeat to Barnett (23-5) in the semi finals of the openweight Grand Prix. This time the Brazilian did enough to convince all three judges to award him the win.

Pride Shockwave 2006, Tokyo, December 31st
Fedor Emelianenko (c) def. Mark Hunt by Submission (Kimura) at 8:16 of Round 1 (Defends Heavyweight Title)
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira def. Josh Barnett by Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 3 (Heavyweight)
James Thompson def. Hidehiko Yoshida by TKO (Punches) at 7:50 of Round 1 (Heavyweight)
Takanori Gomi def. Mitsuhiro Ishida by TKO (Soccer kicks and punches) at 1:14 of Round 1 (Lightweight)
Kazuyuki Fujita def. Eldar Kurtanidze by Submission (Punches) at 2:09 of Round 1 (Heavyweight)
Gilbert Melendez def. Tatsuya Kawajiri by Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 2 (Lightweight)
Maurício Rua def. Kazuhiro Nakamura by Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 3 (Middleweight)
Akihiro Gono def. Yuki Kondo by Decision (Split) at 5:00 of Round 2 (Welterweight)
Shinya Aoki def. Joachim Hansen by Submission (Gogoplata) at 2:24 of Round 1 (Lightweight)
Kiyoshi Tamura def. Ikuhisa Minowa by KO (Soccer kicks) at 1:18 of Round 1 (Welterweight)

This is part of our retrospective series looking at some classic shows and fights. For more information click here.