Rogers determined to upset Fedor

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 10:27 PM ET

You've heard it a million times -- anything can happen in mixed martial arts.

One day a fighter looks unbeatable, the next he's lying unconscious on the mat.

However, despite all the upsets and title changes over the years, no one has been able to knock Fedor (The Last Emperor) Emelianenko off his perch as top-ranked heavyweight in the world.

Tough fighters like Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira, Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic and Tim (The Maine-iac) Sylvia have all failed against the last reigning PRIDE heavyweight champion.

Next up to the plate is undefeated Brett (The Grim) Rogers, who will face Emelianenko (30-1) Saturday at "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers." The card will mark Strikeforce's first broadcast on CBS and feature a co-main event of Jake Shields battling Jason (Mayhem) Miller for the vacant middleweight title.

Despite the enormity of the task, Rogers (10-0) remains confident he will be the fighter to end Emelianenko's reign because he has something none of Emelianenko's previous challengers had -- an unrelenting drive to be the best.

"Coming from nothing and wanting to be something -- and (wanting it) a lot," Rogers said on a Strikeforce media conference call.

No more than six months ago, Rogers was still changing tires at Sam's Club. This most recent training camp marks his first where he didn't need to juggle the demands of fighting with a full-time job.

It will take more than just being driven for Rogers to beat the world's top heavyweight, though. Rogers feels his experience in a cage -- Emelianenko has only fought in a ring -- and striking prowess will be the keys to his success.

"It is different fighting in a ring than fighting in a cage," Rogers said. "As far as your strategy goes, it really doesn't matter. But it is going to matter when it comes to being used to ducking out through the ring. Any time you can move your hands through the ring or duck your foot out through the ring -- you can't do that in a cage.

"So I'm going to use that to my advantage and lock it up because his natural instinct -- since he's used to fighting mostly in a ring -- is to think the same way, but he can't do those things. So if I'm in that position, I'm definitely going to use that to my advantage."

Emelianenko, though, doesn't believe the cage will play a big role in determining the fight's outcome.

"I think that my submission and striking techniques do not depend on the surroundings, where the fight takes place," Emelianenko said through his translator. "It doesn't matter if the fight takes place in the ring or in a cage."

In his last bout, Emelianenko delivered a stunning knockout of Andrei (The Pitbull) Arlovski in just over three minutes. However, Rogers one-upped him in June, earning a technical knockout over Arlovski, a former UFC heavyweight champion, in only 22 seconds.

Rogers said that despite Arlovski's loss to Emelianenko in January, he exposed weaknesses in The Last Emperor's stand-up game.

"Andrei was putting pressure on him and kept him on his heels," Rogers said. "When you're going against somebody that's not so much of a striker, that's what you want them doing -- just backing up. Just constantly backing up and backing up. If I can get him doing that, I'm definitely going to push it."

Emelianenko admits Rogers' performance against Arlovski was impressive, but his focus has been on his training routine, not his opponent.

"I watched (Rogers knockout Arlovski) and I know that Brett is a very serious opponent and is a very strong opponent," Emelianenko said. "But I try not to think about that and just work, train and prepare the way I usually do.

"I've been training under the same conditions since my childhood. That's the gym I've gotten used to while I'm training and it's where my coaches are. That's why I do not see any reason to change anything or to use any new technologies or techniques."

As far as Rogers is concerned, Emelianenko's refusal to switch up his training regimen will hurt the Russian. Having studied a number of his past fights, Rogers said he feels like he's read every page in Emelianenko's book.

"I've been training for, like, three months for this guy, you know what I mean?" Rogers said. "It's one of these things where I feel like I know him. I haven't fought him yet, but I feel like I know him. So I'm just going to be focused and keep my head straight.

"The way I see it, I have his style down. He likes to come out and throw his hands for a little while, then try to take you down. All I have to do is just wait for him to try to take me down. He's not going to be able to handle me standing up."

Emelianenko is known for adjusting his strategy on the fly to coincide with the tempo of a fight. He said no amount of planning will dictate how the bout will unfold; everything will be determined only after both men step into the cage.

"I can not tell you exactly what will be in the fight and how the fight will go," Emelianenko said. "Everything will depend on what my opponent will offer me and what I will be able offer my opponent.

"I've been fighting for quite a long time and sometimes if I don't know some things, I feel them by intuition. I do know that one of Brett's great advantages is he has a really strong knockout punch."


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