A long-awaited heavyweight clash between WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett could be close to becoming a reality, according to a report on M-1Global.com, the official English-language website of M-1.
Rumors of the matchup began to surface yesterday, but the official M-1 site quotes company President Vadim Finkelchtein as confirming that official talks are taking place and that Fedor vs. Barnett could become official within the next ten days.
Emelianenko, 30-1, last competed on Jan. 24 during Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. After getting off to a slow start vs. former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, Emelianenko rebounded after connecting with a cross while Arlovski attempted to deliver a flying knee. The fight was officially ruled a knockout at 3:14 of round 1.
Barnett also competed on the same card, defeating former PRIDE heavyweight Gilbert Yvel at 3:05 of round 3 after Yvel submitted due to repeated punches on the ground. The victory improved Barnett’s lifetime MMA record to 24-5 and extended his win streak to four.
According to the M-1Global.com report, if finalized, Fedor vs. Barnett could take place at a co-promoted Affliction and M-1 event in early-August with the Honda Center in Anaheim likely to be the host venue.
Update: Ariel Helwani of AOL’s MMA FanHouse contacted Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio ,who clearly stated nothing has been finalized. “I haven’t finalized it yet,” Atencio is quoted as telling Helwani. “You know me, I like to get everything finalized before making an announcement.”