Fedor vs CroCop. Fedor's team share their memories.

Discussion in 'UFC Discussion' started by sohail84, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. sohail84

    sohail84 White Belt

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    CHALLENGE

    First time Mirko CroCop challenged Fedor to fight him was after he KO'd an exiting fighter Igor Vovchanchyn on 10/08/2003. On 14/08/2004 with the same high kick to the head he dropped Alexander Emelianenko. Two months after Alexander was KO'd, Fedor met Crocop backstage at a PRIDE event. "Is your brother ok?"- CroCop asked After the win against Alexander, Mirko got four more, while spending only 9 minutes in the ring, meanwhile talking about fighting Fedor all the time. In the summer 2005 he was the most popular he's ever been. Everyone assumed that sambo fighter Emelianenko out of self preservation will try minimise Mirko's strengths and take him down as fast as possible.

    Alexander Michkov, Fedor's striking coach: When I first saw Mirko, I immediately understood that this is a very high level fighter. He was very impressive. My opinion is: at that point Fedor was no match for him at striking. CroCop's base is kickboxing, his stand up game was much more varied. Fedor had boxing, because back in Stary Oskol we didn't have kickboxers of necessary level or weight. It was obvious that Fedor's kicking technique needs work. In preparation for the fight we put a lot of work into that aspect.

    Roman Zentsov, MMA fighter, Fedor's sparring partner: It was a fight of two of the best of that time. Fedor was a reigning champion of PRIDE. Mirko was the greatest striker of that time, KO artist; very dangerous fighter. Fedor's road to that fight took more than a year. Everyone knew he was going to face Mirko, but no one knew when.

    Vadim Filkenshtein, Fedor's manager: Japanese had their ways - they tried to make a public announcement: "In two months Fedor is fighting Mirko". But Fedor said: "I'm not ready to fight in two months. I have to prepare better for Mirko." By 28'th of august though Fedor would have had enough time to prepare.

    WHAT FEDOR COULD DO STANDING UP?

    At that point Fedor had 6 years of boxing practice. He hit hard, opponents fell, but his trainer Michkov recieved regular criticism from colleagues

    Michkov: I heard this from other coaches all the time: "Why can't you put his hands up higher? Why are they so low?" I put them up once, almost to the classic boxing stance. And Fedor started to get hit in training. He says: "I put them up, I don't see the hits coming at me". So I told to keep them as high as it suits him. So he put them down again. And again I hear:" Man, why so low?"

    Zentsov: Fedor is a very unorthodox fighter. We sparred in St. Petersburg with professional boxers and they a had problem with him in the ring. He's unorthodox, fast. The technique is unusual and the hits are hard.

    Michkov: His strikes don't follow classic trajectories, more like an arc. And they tell me:" He swings on strikes too much", I say:" Guys, he hits, they fall. What else do you want?"

    Vladimir Voronov, Fedor's wrestling coach: Preparation for Mirko is four stages: mountains, pioneer base "Raduga", Holland and a camp for the actual fight in Stary Oskol.

    Michkov: Training in Holland is to perfect kicking technique and defence.

    TRAINING IN THE MOUNTAINS

    Zentsov: What sets Fedor apart from others is that he's a thinking fighter. He always thinks - on the ring and in training. At the same time Fedor is a workaholic of the type I've never seen before or after. His work ethic borderlines asceticism. What do I mean by that: there were no fancy gyms, we were wrestling on mats outside, in the summer we were jogging in waterproof training costumes - we made our workouts harder so the fights would go easier. We've met an athletics team in the mountains, and they were shocked, because our daily jogging distances were higher than theirs. Around 20 km a day, and in addition to that we had striking training, wrestling and conditioning. It was like this: 5km jogging in the morning. Shadowboxing and warm up after. Before the mid-day training we jog 10km in the mountains, an hour of wrestling after. In the evening 5 km and striking training. Our feet were blistered from all that running, clothes didn't have the time to dry off, skin didn't have the time to heal.

    Voronov: The training went in the context of fatigue. It is especially effective at high elevation. Fedor always jogs a lot.

    Zentsov : You train twice a day - you jog twice a day. You train three times a day - you jog three times. It's Fedor's rule, he likes jogging. This is what gives him stamina. Before I started training with him I ran maybe once a week. But he taught me that every workout starts from jogging. If workout starts at 4pm you start jogging at 3:30. When training starts everyone are still relaxed and you are already loaded, you heart is beating and you get used to wrestling and spar while feeling this way. It makes a lot of sense. Why do people train and train for the fight and after the second round they are gassed? Because before the fight you haven't even entered the ring yet but your heart is already racing, adrenaline is rushing through veins: you might be calm outside, but your body is on elevated rpm and expends resources. I'm not sure where that was though, Kislovodsk or Prielbrusje.

    Voronov: It was Cheget, Prielbrusje.

    Zentsov: That's right. Sometimes mountain mid day training would include 10 km jogging, then an hour workout with shots, kettlebells. We got really creative with those: throwing following the trajectory of punches, backward throws. It's actually nothing new, weightlifters Poddubny, Zass and other strongmen trained in a similar way 100 years ago.

    TRAINING IN THE PIONEERS BASE (basically a soviet boyscout base)

    Zentsov: After the mountains we had a long camp in Stary Oskol: we were living and training on the pioneer's base. Me and Fedor shared a room, the beds were on the opposite sides of walking path.

    Voronov: We've been training at "Raduga" base for a long time and felt at home there. As for conditions... It was like this: three workouts a day. All outside.

    Michkov:We trained there because we didn't really have any other options. Training conditions were unexistant. We put our mats on grass. Guys come back from jogging and the mat is red hot from the sun. Like a frying pan.

    Zentsov: Yeah, and you fidget on that mat like an eel, it burns so much. If it rained we put mats in the hall and trained there for two hours.

    Michkov: As for equipment we had a horisontal bar, parallel bars, sledge hammer, tire, barbell, kettlebels. Horisontal and parallel bars were and are Fedor's favorite. He never pushed for the maximum, but he does 30 reps per set. The schedule was: get up at 6:30 - half an hour before kids wake up. Jogging, warm up 30-45 min: boxing, stand up-wrestling. Shower, breakfast, rest. At 11 another workout, two hours. Shower, dinner, go to sleep. At 5pm another workout. Same food what kids ate, at the dining hall.

    Zentov: The food is simple there, low fat, kompot. Portions were kid sized, but we could refill as much as we wanted. Sometimes during mid-day sleep, Fedor would drive to the city to buy fruits for the team. He was driving a simple Russian car "Lada" back then. Fedor never cared about status and things like that. We paid a lot of attention to recovery, which is understandable with the amount of training. We went to banya regularly. To the swimming pool as well. Also Fedor was probably the first Russian fighter who had a personal massage therapist. Generaly Russian attitude is: "pick up as much as you can, throw as far as possible". But without recovery this attitude leads to a very sad result. To be able to give everything you've got in training, you need to be protected from injuries. Or you get injured and then waste time for two weeks.

    TRAINING IN HOLLAND

    Michkov: Fedor's hands were on the level needed at that point, as for leg kicks and defence from them, there he was lacking. In Holland he imroved. His leg kicks speed increased. Before he used to sometimes overlook leg kicks and get hit. We worked and sparred a lot with boxers, but good kickboxers were always in demand.

    Finkelshtein: In Holland Fedor did a very good job training under Johan Vos, a very good muay thai trainer. His student Ernesto Hoost holds three wins agains CroCop.

    Zentsov: We spent around a month in Holland. Vadim(Finkelshtein) arranged everything so we were welcome everywhere we went. We went to Johan Vos's gym, Lucien Carbin's and other trainers. At that time I was training for Werdum and Fedor was working on his striking.

    Michkov: Everyone were very helpfull and fourthcoming. All sparring partners assumed southpaw stance and imitated CroCop. Fedor's tactic was to spin to the left. Go forward and to the left. And sparring partners task was to throw left kicks to the liver and to the head.

    Zentsov: Fedor preparation went with the help of Remy Bonjasky, Tyrone Spong, Gilbert Yvel, he sparred a lot with them. The task was to throw a left mavashi to the head. When it comes to striking, my impression was that our school is better with hands. But we had to work on legs there, and we especially learned a lot about defence from lowkicks and knees. I was writing down training programs into the notepad, it was a lot to remember. In Europe we finally understood that we need good equipment. Not because of the looks or something. Before we thought: "what's all this decorum for, we've got Russian character - we can spar bone to bone". But there we saw that good equipment allows to go full force in training. You shouldn't be worried about injuring your leg while training. After the first camp in Holland we learned our lesson. Vadim bought everything we needed. To ignore things like training equipment is to steal from yourself.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  2. sohail84

    sohail84 White Belt

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    TRAINING IN STARY OSKOL

    Voronov: From Holland we went back to Stary Oskol, where we were building up for the actual fight

    Zentsov: In Stary Oskol I lived either at Fedor's home, or at his family's second apartment with Sergey Kasanovsky. Fedor is a very hospitable man. I wasn't married back then, but now I understand how much Fedor's wife Oksana did for us. She was feeding the whole gang, can you imagine feeding five heavyweights? We were eating bucketfulls! You'll get tired washing dishes, not to mention cooking. Fedor insisted that we eat at his home, even if we were at his other apartment, dinner and supper at Fedor's place were mandatory. But those home cooked meals were delicious and the menu was different every time.
    Broken bones

    By the mid July Emelianenko won Russian sambo championship, while trying to go easy on his right hand. And 10 days later he meets with CroCop in Japan. Croatian has a fight with Ibragim Magomedov with Fedor at Magomedov's corner. Four minutes later Ibrahim falls down, leg kick to the liver. Two months left before Emelianenko - CroCop fight, everything seems smooth. But only on the surface. In 2003 Fedor KO'd Gary Goodridge in a minute, but he injured his right hand. That injury will bother him long after. The injury worsened in 2005, Emelianenko fought and won against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Leaving the ring he said: "Damn, he smeared his blood all over me". But that wasn't the only problem: in that fight Fedor seriously injured his right thumb. But amazingly he went on to fight CroCop four months after fractured thumb injury.

    Zentsov: Fedor was training for the fight with a serious injury: the right hand was really busted. The fist could've come apart during fight, they were thinking whether or not to operate.

    Michkov: All in all Fedor had three or four operations on that hand. At that time his hand was really injured. We tried to go easy on it. When Fedor worked the bag he couldn't hit with full force, the hand immediately started hurting. He used extra padding in his glove to make it a little softer.

    Zentsov: Fedor went through the whole training with that injury, it couldn't stop hurting. I remember we drove off to x-ray his hand during mid day sleep. It was broken, there was a fragment of the bone that either couldn't regrow or kept shifting around.

    Voronov: Fragments were floating around in the right thumb joint, there were a few of them. He couldn't execute a wrestling grab at full force nor strike.

    Zentsov: And really they needed to operate on that hand, clean up, and give time to heal. But Fedor would've lost half a year. So he decided to endure. Some other guy would've postponed, but Fedor went on with it.

    Michkov: We decided not to decline a fight, because the situation was already heating up. CroCop was saying to journalists that Fedor is ducking him

    Voronov: There were also talks about giving CroCop an interim belt if Fedor declines a fight.

    Michkov: So Fedor said:"I'm going to fight"

    BEFORE THE FIGHT

    Mirko CroCop expected problems on the ground from sambo fighter Emelianenko, and rightly so. He trained for the fight with the help of Fabricio Werdum who also had a fight on that date, against Roman Zentsov. Werdum will eventually spend around two years in Croatia, and five years later will become the first fighter to defeat Fedor Emelianenko, and ten years later will become a UFC champion. But that will be much later.

    Michkov: CroCop, as I remember, arrived to Japan almost a month prior. They really liked him. A lot of people rooted in his favour.

    Zentsov: We usually arrived to Japan 4 days prior. We counted acclimatization peaks compared them and decided that it's an optimal timeframe. Without getting too much into it, acclimatization in the East and in the West isn't the same thing.

    Michkov: We arrived to Japan before noon, and two-three hours later we were sleepy as hell. But we endured till 9 pm, and only then went to sleep. Fall to sleep early and you'll end up staring at the ceiling all night. Amar Suloev once walked around the whole night, couldn't fall asleep. To sleep better, I went to a pharmacy and bought some herbal tea for Fedor to drink in the evening. He slept fine.

    Zentsov: Did Fedor get nervous? We were close, but I haven't noticed any nervousness. I was always impressed with his calmness and focus before the fight.

    Michkov: You don't see Fedor being nervous. He has amazing psyche. I remember my own feelings when I first got to Japanese stadium: 70 thousand people - I got scared! I think- poor Fedor, I wonder how he's taking it. But he's looking same as usual. Sometimes a person trains and trains, knows everything. Gets into the ring - can't do anything, too stressed.

    Zentsov: That event was first for me in Japan. I was shocked: 50 thousand people, the sound of them, you can feel it inside. I was fighting myself much more than I was fighting Werdum there.

    Michkov: We were playing cards before the fight, it helps to take your mind off. The camp is finished, you did what you had to. You can't change anything. So why stress out and sit somewhere shaking? And we played cards - joked around, sometimes cheated blatantly just to laugh and have fun.

    Zentsov: It's a kind of a trick. At first it has no effect, but after a while you get into it and your mind switches. Heavyweights fight last, so there was a lot of waiting, you can burn out during this time. At first I played cards on slots but couldn't stop burning, thinking of upcoming fight. But later I've learned to take my mind off, stop thinking that I have to go out and fight right now. It really saves psychophysical resources.

    THE FIGHT

    Fight format: first round - 10 minutes, second and third - 5. No elbows, soccer kicks at the head of downed opponent - allowed. 47629 spectators. Pay-per-view: $29,95. Odds: Crocop-2,7; Fedor 1,45.

    In the dressing room doctor anesthetizes Fedor's hand. Before the fight he warms up with a top kickboxer Tyrone Spong: he throws left kicks at Fedor on three levels: hip, liver, head. In the fight Fedor surprises everybody: he doesn't try to take Mirko down, he fights CroCop standing up and takes initiative, throws more shots

    Finkelshtein: Everyone expected takedowns from Fedor followed by ground and pond and submissions. CroCop was preparing for that, his main sparring partner was Werdum. But Fedor didn't even try to take it to the ground, he started to score points standing up.

    Voronov: I just want to note that with his hand injury it was tough to do takedowns.

    Zentsov: I was sitting in the first row. One episode was especially memorable. I remeber it very clearly: CroCop throws a mightiest, loaded lowkick - Fedor puts up a hard block and bone hits bone, CroCop's shin to Fedor's knee. The sound was loud enough for me to hear. I felt how painful it was for both of them. I saw CroCop's eyes - his face was priceless. Fedor looked the same as ever. Being a striker myself, I know, when a wrestler suddenly starts to outstrike you it's unnerving. CroCop didn't expect Fedor to improve his striking so much in the short time he had.

    Michkov: Why did Alexander Emelianenko lose to CroCop? He didn't stick to a gameplan. It was like this: Alex, not a step back, you have to make him move backwards and never do that yourself. How was he KO'd: he started backing up a little bit and CroCop landed his left to the head. Fedor learned this lesson, he pressed forward three rounds straight, pushing CroCop backwards, which countered his main weapon - legs. And Fedor even did a high kick himself.

    Zentsov: That's how the breaking of CroCop went down. He knew that he's the downside on the ground. And suddenly a wrestler outstrikes him standing up even throws a kick to the head. Why couldn't he land his high kick clean? I remember the way we trained for that: every highkick must be punished. And Fedor after every attempt to do a highkick responded with series of punches himself. And CroCop started picking shots, became hesitant because after every highkick he had to deal with the flurry of swinging shots

    Finkeshtein: What sets Fedor apart: usually fighters train, learn new techniques, but when they get into the ring, they only do what the always could. In CroCop fight Fedor showed everything he learned in Holland. Stuck to gameplan perfectly. I've never seen him doing a highkick before. Saw it first time. Croatian was demolished.

    Zentsov: I was seated near Fedor's wife. Oksana had her fists clenched, she was biting her lip and in tears - first from fear then from happiness. It was a very hard fight for Fedor: he had to fight for 20 minutes with what was basically a broken hand. He was leaving the ring with a busted face and hands, but nevertheless with a belt.

    Voronov: After the fight they froze Fedor's hand, gave painkillers and later in Russia he had an operation, put all the bits back in the pile.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  3. sohail84

    sohail84 White Belt

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    WHEN THEY SAW IT IN RUSSIA

    The fight Fedor-CroCop was shown much later - next year at night on NTV. Those broadcasts were paid for by Vadim Finkelshtein and only from those broadcasts people got to discover this new sport, that out of habit was called "no-rules fighting"

    Natalya Bulanova, first PR-manager of M-1: I remember the situation before those midnight broadcasts on NTV very well. I offered exclusives with Fedor to a lot of papers and broadcast channels, but 99% of responces were:"We don't want it, we don't know who that is, don't call here anymore" And after those broadcasts our MMA fighters finally started to gain recognition.

    Zentsov: I understand: without Fedor I wouldn't get those fights. I know it very well. He didn't just help me train, he gave a chance to fight in PRIDE

    What was Fedor's impact: he was pulling everybody ahead. Everyone who got in his team started to train more, and grow as a fighter. Some didn't understand it and slacked off. But Fedor always cared for his family and his team. He made a way for us with his fists, to get recognition and to earn a living.

    To remember all of it now, how we were training is a big pleasure. I have nothing but good memories about that time. It was hard, but it was fun

    Original Source: http://www.sports.ru/tribuna/blogs/ohmyblog/825173.html
    Credits to the translator Yau111 from r/
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  4. HARRISON_3

    HARRISON_3 Gold Belt

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    Some good training and conditioning tips in there.
     
  5. freakroor

    freakroor Brown Belt

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    awesome.

    Fedor went and sparred with Bonjasky, yvel, and spong. No wonder he was able to stand with Cro Cop,
     
  6. CereserBr

    CereserBr Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    wow, insane read! thanx for sharing... Fedor is a legend!
     
  7. infamousXX87XX

    infamousXX87XX Purple Belt

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    Good post TS. Very interesting read. I was so pumped on that day rooting for CC and it's easily one of the most anticipated fights ever
     
  8. dionysiac

    dionysiac Blue Belt

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    Great post
     
  9. Leonhard Euler

    Leonhard Euler Banned Banned

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    this is definitely a good read. Arresting indeed.
     
  10. londonzizou93

    londonzizou93 Purple Belt

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    This read is worth more than gold for the mma fighters and the ones who want to be
     
  11. RJK

    RJK Black Belt

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    Great read, much appreciated.
     
  12. goodnamestaken

    goodnamestaken Orange Belt

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    Amazing interview(s). Tons of insight. Thanks for posting!
     
  13. Fox by the Sea

    Fox by the Sea Lighthouse keeper Platinum Member

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    i read this a few days ago and i recommend it to everybody. it is a great read, lacking the usual hamming up we are so used to these days.

    a testimony of a great fighter, without hyperbole. bump it as many times as you want, TS, the more people read this the better.
     
  14. basedgodfedor

    basedgodfedor Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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  15. vishal-ajj

    vishal-ajj Brown Belt

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    Thanks TS appreciate it...
    ;-)
     
  16. Peteyandjia

    Peteyandjia Winter Orchid Staff Member Forum Administrator

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    Classic.

    Worth it just for this:


    One of Arnold's 5 rules for success: Break some of the rules.
     
  17. JosephDredd

    JosephDredd Gold Belt

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    Man I love Fedor. This was a great read. I think I'm going to start jogging. I've been thinking about it for awhile since I've been reading about the benefits of LSD aerobic work.

    This is the first time I've ever heard Fedor's team talk about using kettlebells. Ten years ago they said they never used them, despite the famous pic of Fedor standing over them. I remember kettlebell trainers saying that of course he used them, but they weren't going to give away their secrets. Even though I used KBs, I rolled my eyes and thought, "Come on, guys. Not everything is marketing. Step out of your world." Now I wonder if Fedor's team were using them at the time or if they started incorporating them at a later date.
     
  18. Starman

    Starman Brown Belt

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    Amazing read, thanks TS.
     
  19. BonesNose**

    BonesNose** Banned Banned

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    Amazing read, truly defies modern fighters and the new views concerning bodily improvements.
     
  20. Zer

    Zer Gold Belt

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    Thanks TS
     

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