Fedor Emelianenko. Photo by Tracy Lee/CombatLifestyle.com.
Perennial heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko has confirmed that he has agreed to face close friend and former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett at Affliction’s third show on August 1 in Anaheim, California.
In a recent interview with M-1Global.com, Emelianenko stated that he worked closely with all sides to make the fight happen and that even though that Barnett is a friend of his, he is still more than willing to take him on.
“I am always 100% involved in the negotiations especially with regards to the Barnett fight,” Emelianenko said. “We discussed this fight with the whole team (trainers, coaches, management), so as a team we agreed to a fight with Barnett. Besides Josh’s qualities as a fighter, he is also one of the best representatives for MMA in the U.S.A. We often had drinks after our fights in PRIDE and Affliction so I do consider him a friend.”
Barnett’s camp has already revealed that he has agreed to the bout as has Affliction VP Tom Atencio. An official announcement from the organization regarding the fight and the event itself is expected in the coming days.
After years of criticism concerning the quality of his opponents, Emelianenko silenced his detractors with a pair of quick wins over former UFC champions. The Russian needed only 36 seconds to submit Tim Sylvia at Affliction’s debut show last July and then scored a devastating first-round knockout of Andrei Arlovski at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” event in his last fight in January.
Following a unanimous decision loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in his final fight under the PRIDE Fighting Championships banner, Barnett has gone to win four straight fights. He was able to avenge a prior loss to Pedro Rizzo by knocking out the Brazilian at Affliction’s “Banned” show last July and most recently competed in January, submitting heavy-handed striker Gilbert Yvel with strikes on the ground in the third round.