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Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko was born September 28, 1976 in Rubezhnoe, Luhansk. Although today the region is park of Ukraine, at the time of Emelianenko's birth, it was still part of the Soviet Union. When he was just two years old his family moved to Stary Oksol, where his mother, Olga worked as a teacher and his father was a gas-electric welder. Emelianenko was the second child born to the family. He has an older sister Marina as well as two younger brothers. Aleksander, who is also a mixed martial artist, was born in 1981 when Emeliankenko was 5 and Ivan was born when he was 12.

Emelianenko completed high school in 1991 and then went on to graduate with honors from a professional trade school three yeas later. He served in the Russian Army from 1995 to 1997 as a military fire fighter.

Two years after leaving the army he married and he and his wife, Oksana, had their first child, Masha, later that same year. Emelianenko has said that he enjoy spending time at the beach as well as music, art, reading and painting.

Emelianenko first developed an interest in Judo and Sambo. He trained under Vasiliv Ivanovish Gavrilov and later under Vladimir Mihailovich Voronov. Voronov has reported that when Emelianenko was just ten years old he was somewhat physically weak and at that time did not have a natural grappling talent. His strongest strengths instead were his perseverance and determination.

While his previous training once involved extensive weight training, in 1999 he began to substitute a large degree of weight exercises with specific sport training in kickboxing, grappling and boxing. His strength training routine primarily consists of push ups, crunches and pull-ups on a daily basis in addition to running between 7 and 9 miles each day. In fact, he has become a strong advocate of high altitude training and even makes a point to travel to Kislovodsk, Russia at least once per year with his team in order to train in high altitude.

Emelianenko shifted his attention toward improving his kicking technique in 2005. Since training Muay Thai, Emelianenko has stated that he has a strong interest in continuing working with and training young athletes.

Although there has been some speculation that he may have begun training in Sambo during his time in the military, Emeliananko has specified that this is, in fact, not true. In 1997 he did receive the official certification of a Master of Sports in both Sambo and Judo and went on to participate in the Russian national team. The following year he earned a bronze medal in the Russian Judo Championship. Two years later he began competing in combat sambo and mixed martial arts. He has since stated that he mainly started due to a lack of money.

Emelianenko's debut appearance occurred at PRIDE 21 on June 23, 2002. He was matched against the 6'11, 256 pound Semmy Schilt, who at the time was the Dutch 2005 and 2006 K-1 World Champion. Emelianenko defeated Schilt by a unanimous decision. Next, he came up against Heath Herriing for a chance at the heavyweight belt. Although Emelianenko was considered to be an underdog at the top, he managed to defeat Herring after the firs round. It was this win that is widely considered to be Emelianenko's catapult into fame. Following that match he signed on to fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the PRIDE heavyweight championship title at PRIDE 25 in March, 2003. Nogueira was heavily favored to win; however, Emelianenko dominated the champion for three rounds and then took the second PRIDE Heavyweight Champion title with a unanimous decision.

Three months later he went up against "Ironhead" Fujita, the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Although Emelianenko was favored to win, he was caught off guard by a right hook that went wild. Nevertheless, he was able to recover himself and then knocked Fujita down in the first round.

Since those first fights Emelianenko has gone on to become a well known favorite, dominating champions from all corners of the globe.

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