Fedor set to return against Barnett

Originally Published: May 29, 2009
By Brian Knapp | Sherdog.com

Fedor Emelianenko will lock horns with Josh Barnett in the featured bout at Affliction "Trilogy" on Aug. 1 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The promotion made the heavyweight matchup official on Friday.

The announcement pairs the No. 1 and No. 3 world-ranked heavyweights against one another in a five-round contest. For Emelianenko, it will be his sixth test against a former UFC champion.

"I consider Josh as one of the truly best in MMA, I think he is really in his prime right now," Emelianenko said Wednesday on his management's M-1 Global Web site. "Just like when I fought [Mirko] Cro Cop [Filipovic], he was in his prime as well. At that time it was one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history [and] my fight with Josh can be that as well."

[+] EnlargeFedor Emelianenko
Dave Mandel/Sherdog.comFedor Emelianenko, right, has stopped his last five opponents within one round.

Unbeaten in his last 27 fights, Emelianenko (30-1, 1 NC) flattened former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia in his most recent outings. The 32-year-old Russian knocked out Arlovski with one punch 3:14 into their match at Affliction "Day of Reckoning."

Hard to handle on his feet and on the ground, Emelianenko has finished his last five opponents inside one round and holds victories against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix winner Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and former UFC heavyweight champions Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman. He has delivered 23 of his 30 career wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission.

Barnett, a former UFC champion like Arlovski and Sylvia, will carry a four-fight winning streak into the bout. The 31-year-old last appeared in January, when he struck Gilbert Yvel into submission at Affliction "Day of Reckoning." Barnett has won nine of his last 11 fights, including a victory against Emelianenko's brother, Aleksander, at a Pride show in 2006.

A 6-foot-3, 250-pound wrestler, Barnett has secured 15 of his 24 career wins by submission.

Other bouts expected for Affliction "Trilogy" include a welterweight showdown pairing former International Fight League champion Jay Hieron with British striker Paul Daley and a lightweight tilt pitting Dan Lauzon against Chris Horodecki.

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