Well, the fans are loving it! Chicago's MMA community and fan base is thrilled over Saturday night's big CBS broadcast of Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko (30-1) against undefeated Brett Rogers (10-0). If you still have not heard where, it is a the Sears Center and tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com http://www.ticketmaster.com. Fight line can be found on http://www.strikeforce.com/events/#.
Others in attendance were Antonio "Big Foot" SIlva (13-1) who got right down to business when he arrived. As if to respect all the time off he was forced due to testing positive for steroids a couple years back. The 6'4, 265 pounder shared his thoughts about finally being able to fight again, "I am very happy to be fighting again in the United States against a very worthy opponent on CBS. I had a fight in late September, but that only lasted one round (3:51). But I trained very hard before that and I trained very hard after it. I've been training daily for about four straight months."
His opponent Fabricio
Werdum (12-4-1) had a gracious presence, comfortable with the crowd and showing a little insight into his skill sets.
Personally, I was hoping that this 2 time ADCC world heavyweight champion
and European JIu-Jitsu Champ would have loosen up with a little rolling and
ground play. Instead, we observed his controlled kicking and low-key mitt work intended to give
the media something to see.
Gegard Mousasi (26-2-1) arrived and maintained a very low-key profile. The Armenian actually seemed to blend with the media themselves until he finally took a rope out and began his light training . Mousasi a highly overlooked fighter has fought consistently over the last 5 years and made a great impression on the hard-core MMA community. Still he seems to be passed over by us overall, but hopefully this Saturday night he will command the American audience's attention . Even Ken Shamrock, who was also in attendance at yesterday's media event expressed that,"I think there is one guy that is super-talented and overlooked... Mousasi he amazing, you'll see." Mousasi, a smart fighter expressed his mature approach to meeting Rameau Thierry Sokodjou in the cage, "My opponent is very dangerous and I expect a very difficult fight. He has lost a couple fights but they were to good fighters, so there may be some people who are underestimating him. But I am not."
Two of Saturday night's undercard fighters were also available and getting their game face on for Saturday night. Roxanna Modafferi (13-4), female MMA pro probably set the most discipline tone when she arrived. With little hesitation, she began a well organized workout. She fights Marloes Coenen (16-3) in a rematch. She won a split decision over Coenen in 2007. Coming in heavier at 145 for Saturday night, Modafferi's will help continue the momentum that women's MMA has been building. The familiar face on the training floor was Chicago's resident MMA pro, Mark Miller who seemed to be smiling through his entire workout. Miller who fights Deray Davis an Indiana pro, commented that he feels great, "I made weight early this week and I am able to keeping eating." Hopefully, for both the local fans and the growing women's MMA community both fighters will slide into the broadcast should the main event bouts run short.