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Report: Fedor vs. Barnett close to being finalized (UPDATED)

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.”

8 COMMENTS
  • RU486 says:

    Let’s hurry up and get this fight over with so there will be no more real matchups for Fedor outside of the UFC. Perhaps then he will be forced to join the UFC for lack of exciting matchups.

  • Angry Mike says:

    I thought Barnett has stated publicly that he doesn’t want to fight Fedor because he’s a friend. Regardless of his reasons, Barnett has been in no hurry to get into the ring with Fedor. I’ll believe it when I see it, and I most definitely want to see it.

  • revjames13 says:

    They pretty much have to fight each other as they are the top two HW’s for Affliction and Barnett is the only guy with a prayer of beating him.

    Given their “friendship” it is possible that Fedor will do a little less head-hunting and the bout could become more of a grappling match. Fedor still wins that one 99 out of 100, but Barnett is skilled enough in that arena to make a fight of it.

    It would be a great scalp for Fedor and would make him the HW who has fought and beaten the best recent competition (Silvia, Arlovski, Barnett), reversing the knock on him that he hasn’t fought high-level competition.

    Anybody out there at HW who can claim a better last three opponents?

  • ultimoshogun says:

    @RU486: I hope Fedor never conforms to a UFC contract so then maybe they will be forced to cross promote someday. Besides, I read that he’s been wanting to return to Japan anyway. I’ve been waiting for this match since the good ole PRIDE days. Out of the current HW contenders I think Barnett poses the biggest threat.

  • Cathedron says:

    It’s both a great fight and the sad end to Affliction as they run out of fights for Fedor and have to cease to exist. *sigh*

    I’m starting to think we’ll never see Fedor in the UFC unless he gets new management. Really, he doesn’t need the UFC and the UFC doesn’t need him. He could, however, make a shitload of money if he fought Brock Lesnar. That’s about the only thing on the table that might actually make a difference.

    Maybe I’m too cynical. I didn’t think we’d see Randy back in the UFC especially not fighting Lesnar. And hey, Strikeforce could pick up Fedor’s contract after Affliction runs out of… well, after Affliction runs out.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Affliction has shown that they are willing to cross promote, so Barnett 2, Overeem, Arlovski 2, Crocop 2, Werdum, Sylvia 2, Kharitonov, Monson, Buentello, Big Foot and even Kimbo may all be possibilities and they are just as good, if not better match ups than the UFC can provide with the exception of Lesnar, Couture, Mir and Nog. Fedor would destroy Mir in my humble opinion, Fedor has fought Nog 3 times already, I would like to see more of Lesnar before I decide weather he is really as good as everybody ASSUMES and like I keep saying Couture 46 and has only beaten 2 Hws in about 8 years ( he really beat Gonzaga via accidental head butt, which shattered his nose, it is hard to fight when you can’t see or breathe. Unofficial no-contest ).
    I mean Fedor could lose to anyone but honestly who in the UFC is worthy?. They are all prospects not contenders. People say he needs to fight in the UFC…why does he when most of todays top HW talent is not in the UFC! Fedors brother, in my opinion, is better than 70% of the UFC HWs. Lets see Carwin, Valasquez, Lesnar fight more top flight comp before we say the best match ups are in the UFC. You guys say he is running out of comp outside of the UFC!, personally I think if half of todays UFC HWs were not in the UFC most of you wouldn’t even know their names. I think the UFC fighters need to fight OUT of the UFC to find comp not the other way around.

  • mu_shin says:

    Have to agree with Cathedron, in that the UFC has certainly demonstrated they don’t need Emelianenko, as they are doing forty million per PPV without him, and Fedor is earning a comfortable living without the UFC.

    Also agree that Affliction cannot exist only promoting one or two events a year. How can they hope to stimulate interest and compete in the marketplace when their biggest competition is staging events every month or two? How can fighters maintain their effectiveness if they rarely get to fight?

    I do not blog on MMA sites to engage in any kind of personal attacks on other posters, and do not in any way mean to belittle anyone’s opinion or ridicule anyone’s positions. CroCop, Arlovski, Monson,Werdum and Sylvia have all been crushed in the UFC, and none but Barnett have really done anything of substance lately to warrant elite status in MMA. It’s easy to say a fighter should prove himself further before granting him a certain status, but watching the fights they actually did have, like the beatings Lesnar gave Heath Herring and Randy Couture, or the brutal knockout Carwin laid on Gonzaga, might be indicative of the level of talent they possess and the potential they have right here, right now, not years ago in Pride or in some imagined universe where “worthy” contenders exist. Frank Mir, Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin, Cain Velasques, Cheick Kongo, these guys are the real deal, the heavyweight future of MMA.

    Yes, Fedor is the best of the best, probably the best MMA fighter who has ever competed in any weight class in any promotion, but business considerations are keeping him from competing in the UFC. Too bad for all of us, the fans, who would love to see him fight the best competition available. Emelianenko will crush Josh Barnett, and where will Affliction come up with another fight for him, and when?

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Mu_shin did the brutal KO Sokadju and Houston gave their opponents mean they were the future of the LHW ?.
    Cro cop has beaten A. Emelianenko, Barnett x3, Hunt, Fujita, Coleman and Randleman to name but a few as well as going 5 rds with Fedor, so he lost in the UFC twice, name a HW that has gone his career without losing twice Randy is 16 and 9 and lost twice in a row then dropped to LHW stating that HWs were too big for him. Arlovski got beaten in the UFC but nearly half as many times as Randy. Monson just beat Kharitonov and is a 2x world grappling champ. I hope you are right when you say those guys are for real in the UFC, but I would like to see them prove it before I decide wheather they are for real. I would love to see Carwin fight Gonzaga again, I would bet on Gonzaga for sure, he would have realized that when you have somebody hurt, not to get sloppy and walk into a punch. Is that not what happened?. It’s what happened in the fight I saw.

    “CroCop, Arlovski, Monson,Werdum and Sylvia have all been crushed in the UFC”

    So have Tito, Couture, Liddell, Mir, BJ, Belfort, Hughes and GSP…do they suck too? How about A. Silva he lost his last 2 fights in Pride, he must really suck.

    If you think that the best HWs are in the UFC you are sadly mistaken. Most of the best LWs, MWs and HWs fight outside of the UFC. Not for one company but in the “imaginary world” called everywhere else. Get used to it because the UFC cannot afford to hold all of the top MMA fighters. MMA is too big now. Fedor could fight 1 of about 13 top 20 fighters that are out of the UFC, he could also fight Semmy schilt, Roy jones Jnr or George Bush Snr if he wanted to. Who can Lesnar fight after Mir 1 of about 6 top 20 HW fighters and only 3 of the top 10. The UFC is only a large well maintained rock pool in the sea of MMA.

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