Most are predicting a bloodbath, another easy win for Emelianenko, the pound-for-pound best in our sport, the toughest man on the planet.
I think Barnett has a chance.
Yes, I’m serious. Here is why:
I think we all can agree that the blue print for beating Fedor includes excellent ground skills, because he will take you there, coupled with a good chin, because he will hit you there, hard.
Nobody can doubt Josh Barnett’s ground game. Here is a man who almost submitted Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, widely considered the best heavyweight Jiu-Jitsu stylist of all time, not once, but twice in their 2006 Pride slugfest, which Barnett won by decision.
Nor can anyone question Barnett’s chin. In 2006, he fought Fedor’s “little” brother, Aleksander Emelianenko, who at 6′7″ is not only a better technical striker than Fedor, but more intimidating, as well, if you can believe it.
I mean, Aleksander has a full back tattoo of a grim reaper with a newborn baby impaled on the end of it’s scythe, along with the phrase “God Be With Us,” written in German Gothic script. This is particularly odd considering he’s Russian, so it kinda makes you wonder about his, um—political beliefs.
Anyway, the point is, Aleksander hit Barnett with everything he had, but the baby-faced assassin kept coming, and coming, eventually submitting the Nazi—I mean giant—in round two.
Consider as well that Fedor has showed some signs of mortality, not only in his last fight, against the always dangerous Andrei Arlovski—a brief affair in which Fedor was outboxed—until the final seconds of Round one, at which time he knocked Arlovski on his ass—but also earlier in his career against Ricardo Arona—a true master on the ground (a fight that I would have scored as a victory for the Brazilian).
In summary, Barnett is a durable man with flashes of brilliance on the ground, including the best leg attacks in the heavyweight division—not just in Aflliction, but anywhere in the world, period.
It won’t be easy, but don’t swear off the revolution just yet. The Emperor just might fall.