Rizzo: “I’m Fighting Barnett in July”


Pedro Rizzo throws a right hand at Josh Barnett. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship title contenders Pedro Rizzo and Josh Barnett will most likely collide in a rematch of their February 2001 bout when Affliction Clothing holds it’s first-ever mixed martial arts show on July 19th at a venue yet to be determined.

The news comes from Sherdog.com, which confirmed the fight with Rizzo himself. Barnett informed MMA Weekly on their nightly radio show that a fight with Rizzo was “pretty much a done deal.”

“I knew about this fight for some time, but was hoping to disclose it,” Rizzo said in the report. “I was hoping to face him due to the fact that he is one of the top five heavyweights, a very tough guy. This is my chance to return to the top, and I will seize it the best way.”

Despite inking a new three-fight deal with SUN Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of Art of War in December, the rematch against Barnett will be Rizzo’s first fight this year. The Brazilian has won his last two fights, most recently stopping fellow longtime veteran Jeff Monson with strikes in September of last year.

Barnett was part of the inaugural “Sengoku” show in March, submitting former judo standout Hidehiko Yoshida with a heel hook in the third round. Before then, the former UFC heavyweight champion had not fought since losing a unanimous decision to current UFC champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at PRIDE Shockwave 2006.

The part-time professional wrestler will first try his luck against Monson on May 18th in Japan before going up against Rizzo.

The show will be headlined by a heavyweight showdown years in the making as former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko will take on former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. A number of other notable fighters are expected to compete on the card as well including Matt Lindland, Mark Hominick, Ben Rothwell, Andrei Arlovski and Aleksander Emelianenko.

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