Affliction Trilogy: Emelianenko Vs. Barnett Preview

Matt MelbyeCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2009

On August 1st, Josh Barnett meets his pal Fedor Emelianenko for the WAMMA Heavyweight Championship in Anaheim, CA. Fittingly, this is Fedor's last fight under contract in Affliction and Barnett is the only worthy contender left. This is No. 1 versus No. 2 in the world, a must see fight for MMA followers.

Fedor Emelianenko (30-1) is the world's No. 1 heavyweight. "The Last Emperor" is a legend of the sport. His sportsmanship and class is second to none. He is a sambo and judo fighter. He dominated Pride's heavyweight division with wins over Minotauro Nogueira, Mirko Cro Cop, and Mark Hunt. In Affliction, he submitted Tim Sylvia and knocked out Andrei Arlovski. 

Fedor is the most well rounded heavyweight of all time. If you looked up mixed martial artist in the dictionary, you should see this guy's picture next to it. Other than a freak cut in his fight with Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, he is perfect for his career. 

Josh Barnett (24-5) was the youngest ever UFC heavyweight champion. "The Babyfaced Assassin" has also beaten Minotauro Nogueira and Mark Hunt. He has wins over Randy Couture and Fedor's younger brother Aleksander Emelianenko.

Barnett is an outstanding wrestler and has 15 wins by submission. He is widely considered the No. 2 heavyweight in the world and I will agree. This is the one man that has the abilities to shock the world and beat Fedor.

I see a stand up war for the most part. Fedor has the striking advantage and will want to keep the fight there. Barnett will try for some takedowns and may be successful once or twice. But Fedor is so calm and collected, he will not be on his back for long.

Barnett's only shot is to catch Fedor with a few good hooks and take advantage while he is rocked. Take him down and pray that a submission works.

For Fedor, I believe he will try his best to keep it standing. But, he may wait to see what Barnett wants to do and find the best counter action.

My prediction is a TKO win for Fedor Emelianenko probably in the third round. This will be Fedor's toughest fight we've seen in a long time and he may actually take some damage—just a little.

After Brock Lesnar's actions at UFC 100, a villain was born. A win here for Fedor and Dana White will be doing everything he can to get him in that octagon. I actually believe that Fedor will be offered anything he wants this time. Please win this fight Fedor, the UFC needs you.

If Barnett pulls off the impossible, he will be remembered forever. This would mean Fedor is human. But I don't think it takes anything away from his legacy, it just takes Barnett to whole new level. We would expect a rematch at some point.

Go see this fight. Or are you so attached to the UFC that you'd rather watch Nogueira vs. Couture? Basically the third place fight in the UFC's heavyweight tournament. Don't miss the chance to see the greatest heavyweights of the sport. You won't regret it.