Jeff ‘Snowman’ Monson today sent out a message on the social networking site Twitter that he will be the opponent for Fedor Emilianenko on November 12th in Russia. Truthfully, this is a hard fight to call, and though it could be boring, it is an interesting fight on paper.
If the fight is boring it is likely going Monson’s way, as he is the fighter whose style can be called ‘methodical’. Fedor, despite a legacy tarnished by three losses in a row, has always gone balls out and has never been called boring.
One thing many people don’t know is that this fight almost happened back in 2007, for the now defunct bodogFIGHT league. The people at bodogFIGHT elected to give the fight to Matt Lindland, precisely because of Monson’s rep as a boring fighter. I do know that Monson agreed to money terms and that they were considerably less than what Lindland got.
Monson however is a dangerous fight for Fedor. The twelve year veteran Monson first appeared on the international MMA scene with a strong performance at the 1999 ADCC Submission Fighting World Championships. He was part of the Matt Hume team that included Dennis Hallman and Josh Barnett, so his pedigree from the beginning is very high skill. Hume is one of the best trainers in the business.
Since then, Monson has moved on to train with American Top Team and jiu jitsu master Ricardo Liborio.
Though Fedor has a sound submission game and he has proven he can use his Sombo techniques in MMA there is practically zero chance of him submitting Monson. Monson is physically strong, and his skill base is much more precise than Fedor’s, who looks sloppy at times.
Fedor is going to have to rough Monson up while standing, and he is going to have to use the speed advantage he will have to keep Monson off balance.
Fedor deserves credit for taking a hard fight, Monson is no pushover. Monson will likely look to ground Fedor. We have seen Monson pull guard in competition, because he is confident in his sweeps. From the top position, Monson likes to methodically work into the north south position and apply a choke or smother.
I once heard an observer say that Fedor is faster than anyone his size or bigger, and stronger than anyone his size or smaller. He used to be capable of forcing his will on anybody. However we have seen some of that advantage erroding as his age has crept into the mid thirties.
Monson too, was a guy used to imposing his will on folks, usually his strength. However Monson has hit 40 as well.
This fight comes down to who can execute their game plan and force the other into their game. I might favor Monson in this fight, only because he was never as reliant on speed as Fedor, and speed is the first thing that goes. Though it is a few years late, it is still an intriguing fight and one that I want to see.