The fight was for the Pride heavyweight championship with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defending. Nogueira was a heavy favorite coming into the fight. Many hadn't realized the potential that Fedor Emelianenko possessed at that time.
The first round began. The two fighters touched gloves and came out fighting. Nogueira went for the takedown, Fedor sprawled. They stood again. Fedor rocked Nogueira to the ground with a big right hand. Nogueira landed an upkick. Nogueira landed some strikes from the bottom. Nogueira pulled full guard. Fedor broke out of the guard and postured up. He landed a big shot from the top and the crowd roared. Fedor postured up again and began landing massive punches. The vicious ground-and-pound continued. Nogueira managed to pull guard again and began setting up an armbar. He threw short punches from the bottom. The referee moved the fight away from the ropes and restarted it in the same position in the center. Fedor landed a big right hand from the top. Nogueira went for the armbar but Fedor fought out of it. Nogueira went for the kimura. Fedor broke free. The referee checked the glove of Fedor and then the fight continued onward. Fedor landed a pair of strikes from the top. Nogueira tried a triangle choke but Fedor fought out. Nogueira was bloodied up under his eye as he tried for an armbar. Fedor broke free and landed two bombs, and then another. Fedor landed a big shot. Nogueira tried for another triangle choke but Fedor once more escaped. Nogueira pulled guard once more. Fedor began ground-and-pounding once more into Nogueira's cheek, posturing up repeatedly as he did. The fight was pressed into the corner now. Fedor began ground-and-pounding once more. Nogueira tried for an armbar but Fedor just shoved out of it. As the commentator Stephen Quadros stated, it was 'Russian Sambo versus Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but in reality its Mixed Martials Arts versus Mixed Martial Arts.' Nogueira transitioned onto the top position and go into half-guard. Nogueira transitioned to side control but Fedor shoved him off and moved on top again. Nogueira landed an upkick. The fight was near the ropes. The first round ended. Nogueira had a fat lip already.
The second round began. Nogueira pushed forward. He went for the takedown, Fedor defended with a sprawl. Nogueira brought the fight to the corner, got a leg, and shoved, trying to get the takedown. He let go of the leg and brought Fedor down into his guard once more. Fedor landed a body shot from the top. Nogueira landed some shots from the bottom. The fight was against the ropes now. The referee restarted the fight into the middle of the ring. Fedor landed a big shot from the top. Fedor landed another big shot from the top. Fedor made it to half-guard, and then he got the full mount. He lost it, then stood up. He dived back down into Nogueira's guard. Nogueira tried the triangle but Fedor escaped. Nogueira threw some strikes from the bottom. More piledriver rights from Fedor. Fedor landed a big shot to Nogueira's chin. Nogueira sweeped and got on top of Fedor but the second round ended right then. Nogueira was bleeding from his ear as he walked back to his corner. He looked dazed and confused.
The third and final round began. They clinched early and Fedor went down into side control momentarily, giving it up to go into Nogueira's full guard and landing a big right hand. Nogueira kept Fedor away with his knees on Fedor's chest. They struggled through a series of rapid-fire submission attempts. The fight got too close to the ropes and the referee moved it to the center of the ring. Fedor landed a body punch. He stood up and then jumped back down into Nogueira's guard. Nogueira landed a few punches to the side of Fedor's head. Nogueira landed an upkick and Fedor landed a pair of big right hands. The fight was approaching the ropes again. Fedor landed a big right hand. The referee moved the fight to the center of the ring. Nogueira barely made it to the center of the ring but he pulled the guard. Nogueira landed an upkick. Fedor landed a pair of hammerfists. One minute remained in the fight, as the announcers stated. Fedor 'had it in the bag', as the commentators said. Nogueira landed an upkick. Nogueira was bleeding from his nose and cheek. The round -- and the fight -- ended. Fedor pulled Nogueira to his feet and hugged him. Nogueira's face 'said it all' though. He looked horrified; he knew that he had lost the fight, and the heavyweight championship. Fedor won by unanimous decision.