Fedor Emelianenko will face off against Fabricio Werdum in the main event of Strikeforce at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Ca. “The Last Emperor” will try to live up to his status as the best heavyweight fighter in the world and look to add to his collection of victories.
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The UFC scored a huge victory yesterday, and they didn’t even have to do anything. Former UFC fighter Josh Barnett was supposed to be in the main event of the next Affliction card against Fedor Emelianenko on August 1. Barnett was briefly a UFC heavyweight champion, but he was stripped of that title and booted from the UFC when he tested positive for steroids. He moved on to Pride and then to Affliction after burning that UFC bridge, and he established himself as a top heavyweight outside of the biggest organization. In his pre-fight drug test this week he again tested positive. That means he obviously can’t get a license for the fight, and he was booted from the card. Affliction didn’t have the time to replace him, so they took the unusual step of cancelling the entire card. That’s a huge blow for a fledgling organization, and it could even be a fatal one. EliteXC was forced to declare bankruptcy after less of a setback than this one. Whether Affliction survives or not, this only serves to further establish the UFC as perhaps the only legitimate MMA organization out there. At the very least, they are by far the most professional. The best possible outcome of this is that Fedor Emelianenko would finally get frustrated by not fighting in the biggest and best and would join the UFC like he really needs to do. That would open up a world of possibilities – Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar and so on. There is no better place for him to be, and no other way for him to prove that he is what everyone thinks he is – the best heavyweight in the world, and perhaps the best fighter period.
The best MMA card in a long time comes next weekend with the much anticipated tilt between Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn at UFC 94. Before we get to that one though, we have the second offering from Affliction this evening. Like the first time, this is a heavyweight friendly card, and it features perhaps the biggest name and most feared fighter in MMA – Fedor Emelianenko. Here’s a quick look at the two biggest fights on the card:
It struck me today that I hadn’t heard much about Jacoby Ellsbury recently. It wouldn’t be surprising that a typical rookie wasn’t making much news, but Ellsbury emerged in such a high profile way last year, and he started off so well, that the absence of news was remarkable. I took a quick look to see what I had missed. It hasn’t been pretty. His average isn’t terrible, with an average of .262. He’s just fallen off a cliff recently. His strikeouts have jumped, his walks have plummeted. He has no home runs in 28 days, one in 48 days, and he has just five home runs in 35 games. He’s leading the league in stolen bases, but the rest of his game is pretty terrible right now. I don’t really have a point other than to say that breaking into this league isn’t always as easy as it might seem.
As much as we might wish otherwise, Donald Trump won’t go away. The USFL, the WWE, and a few golf courses weren’t enough involvement in the sports world for him. Now he’s involved with MMA. He’s a financial and promotional partner with Affliction, a clothing company that fancies itself a fight promoter. The first major Affliction event, called Banned, takes place tonight in Anaheim. In typical Trump style the Baned card is big and impressive. Fedor Emelianenko is widely seen as the best heavyweight, and perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter, in the world. The UFC has tried to land him for years, but they have failed. He’s headlining the Affliction card. Here’s a look at the card for tonight, with odds from Bodog.
Fedor Emelianenko (-350) vs. Tim Sylvia (+275) – Fedor was a menace in PRIDE, but he was done there at the end of 2006, and he has done little since. He has fought just twice, and neither match was even remotely a challenge. His first opponent was a seven foot giant without any skills to match his size, and his second was an undersized middleweight. He needs to prove that he is still as good as his legend, and Sylvia is a good opponent to do so. Sylvia is a two time UFC champ. His last fight in February was for the UFC title, but he lost to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He’s not the best fighter out there, but he is a legitimate talent. Sylvia is a good striker, and he is hard to take down. Fedor is much better inside, and the fight is probably over if it gets to the ground, Sylvia could surprise, but Fedor seriously needs this win, so I expect him to be hungry and get the job done. Fedor by a submission.