The funny thing about the upcoming fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Pedro Rizzo is that a fan of MMA could easily be forgiven for being unaware of its existence. Even I have no idea how to watch it, or if watching it will even be possible. Still, when I take a look at Best Fight Odds and see Fedor listed as a -2000 favorite on two books, I can’t help but be a little intrigued. Is Pedro Rizzo so shot that Fedor deserves to be such a massive favorite against him?
Naturally, the first thing I do as an analyst is look at the recent records of each fighter. I know all about Fedor, but what about Rizzo? As it turns out, here’s what Rizzo’s last 10 fights look like:
- Win – Ken Shamrock – TKO – 7/18/10
- Win – Gary Goodridge – TKO – 5/15/10
- Win – Jeff Monson – Decision – 9/12/09
- Loss – Gilbert Yvel – KO – 6/27/09
- Loss – Josh Barnett – KO – 7/19/08
- Win – Jeff Monson – TKO – 9/1/07
- Win – Justin Eilers – Decision – 3/9/07
- Loss – Roman Zentsov – KO – 2/26/06
- Loss – Sergei Kharitonov – TKO – 6/26/05
- Win – Ricco Rodriguez – Decision – 11/21/03
And then I calculate the fighter’s SILVA score as a mathematical estimate of how good he is based on those 10 fights. But usually, a fighter’s last 10 fights go back 3 years, or 5 at most. In Rizzo’s case, it seems just plain wrong to be giving him credit for beating Ricco Rodriguez in 2003, but if I want to keep the system objective, that’s what I have to do.
In any event, SILVA 2.0 is predicting Fedor to beat Rizzo, with respective SILVA scores of 74.97 and 49.74.
While a SILVA score of 49.74 isn’t cringe worthy, Rizzo’s recent record really is. First of all, he hasn’t fought in nearly two years, which is bad enough as it is. But in Rizzo’s case, his last two opponents were fighters who were decent 15 years ago: Ken Shamrock and Gary Goodridge. Both were obviously fighting for a paycheck, and Goodridge in particular is known to be struggling with the effects of severe brain damage.
As far as Rizzo’s recent career goes, all that is left are two wins over former UFC heavyweight contender Jeff Monson. Monson has a very good submission wrestling game, but almost nothing in the striking game. Since all of Rizzo’s last four losses were by knockout, it seems Monson just had exactly the wrong skill set to bring to the table against him.
Fedor Emelianenko won’t have that problem. Fedor’s technique has severely deteriorated since he was dominating the PRIDE circuit, but he’s still a serious threat to score a KO at any time regardless. And really, what are Rizzo’s paths to victory here? Rizzo isn’t going to out-point Fedor with strikes, so it appears that his only real chance is to knock Fedor out. But just take a look at Rizzo’s fight with Gary Goodridge. Is a guy who couldn’t knock out Goodridge in two rounds really going to knock out Fedor?
It seems the worst-case scenario here for Fedor is simply beating Rizzo up over the course of three rounds. Build in the ever-present chance of something freaky happening like a spontaneous blown knee, and that’s why Fedor is -2000 instead of -infinity. But really, let’s be honest here. Rizzo is being brought in to make Fedor Emelianenko look good.