I was just checking out the Affliction Banned card for July 19th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and let me just say, this is the most exciting MMA card I have ever seen, especially in the heavyweight division.
Here is a list of the Heavyweight matchups and my predictions.
Tim Sylvia (24-4) vs. Fedor Emelianenko (27-1)
Fedor is the consensus number one heavyweight mma fighter in the world.
My biggest concern with Fedor is his that he not fought a big fight in a while. His last two opponents are Hong Man Choi, a fighter he did encounter some problems with early and Matt Lindland (who usually fights at 185). He has notable wins over Mark Coleman, Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera, Renato Sobral and Ricardo Arona.
Tim Sylvia is one of those fighters, that although he is a unanimous top ten heavyweight I have never been thoroughly impressed with. Let’s face it when he did most of his damage, the UFC had a fairly weak heavyweight division. He has beaten Arlovski two times, but of late he has lost 2 out his last three fights, the losses coming to (Antonio Noguiera and Randy Couture)
Fedor will take the fight, winning via TKO, as I could just see the king of ground and pound lighting up Sylvia.
Aleksander Emelianenko (13-3) vs. Paul Buentello (23-10)
Buentello is the man that I constantly hear about in feedback to every Kimbo Slice article I write. Buenetello has fought in the UFC (where he lost to Arlovski), Strikeforce and King of the Cage. Buentello does not have a win against a top tier opponent, he recently lost to Allstair Overeem.
Emelianenko is on a 4 fight winning streak since losing to Fabricio Werdum . His most notable win is against Sergei Kharitonov. He has lost to Josh Barnett and Cro Cop.
My Prediction is Emelianenko to win via decision in an all out war.
Josh Barnett (21-5) vs. Pedro Rizzo (16-7)
Pedro Rizzo is no slouch in the MMA business. He has beaten Barnett before albeit it was at UFC 30 back in 2001. What concerns me is his lack of fighting he has not fought since Sept. 1, 2007) and a noticeable decline in his performance. Since his win over Barnett, he has gone just 5-6 over his last 11 fights.
Josh Barnett is easily on most lists of Top 5 Heavyweights. He is the man who beats everyone except for Mirk CrCop, who he has lost to 3 times. He has notable wins over Randy Couture, Antonio Nogueira, Mark Hunt and Dan Severn. Barnett has also fought twice this year, both fights he won.
Interestingly both fighters both fought Jeff Monson in their last fights.
Barnett will win this fight via submission or decision, avenging one of his few MMA losses during the past 7 years.
Ben Rothwell (29-5) vs. Andrei Arlovski
Ben Rothwell as won his last 13 fights but he is not fighting the caliber of opponents that Arlovski has fought. He lost to Tim Sylvia early in his career, back in 2003. His most notable win of late is over Roy Nelson. In Rothwell’s last fight he defeated Ricco Rodriguez via decision in Sept. 2007. Another fighter with a significant lay off between fights.
Arlovski has notable wins over Paul Buentello, Tim Sylvia, Fabricio Werdum. He last fought in March in the UFC, winning via TKO over Jake O’Brien.
This is a tough fight to call, but based on experience and toughness of his opponents I have to give the edge to Arlovski. Someone is getting knocked out in this fight, I begrudgingly will say it will be Rothwell, against my instincts.
Seriously, does it get better than this? No wonder why Dana White will not let his fighter where Affliction’s clothing. Then again, I am not surpised by his actions? One of the best MMA fighters, Josh Gross (formerly with Sherdog, now with cnnsi.com) can’t even get into a UFC event anymore because he criticized White.
For the full fight card go to http://1fighter.blogspot.com