On Saturday July 19th the Honda center in Anaheim Ca would play host to one of the most anticipated fight cards in MMA history. On Saturday July 19th the Honda center in Anaheim Ca would play host to one of the most anticipated fight cards in MMA history. Dubbed as “Banned” by its promoter and executive VP of Affliction Tom Atenico, Affliction that night put together a fight card filled with veterans as well as new comers that would rival that of any UFC or old Pride FC tournament cards.
In a main even that would seem to bring back the old UFC/Pride FC rivalry Former 2 time UFC heavyweight champion Tim “Maine-iac Sylvia would take on Former Pride FC heavyweight champion Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko. 36 seconds is all Emelianenko would need to dismantle the former UFC champion that night as he would use his vicious unorthodox punches to make his 6’8” opponent crumble to the ground. Once on the ground Emelianenko would be relentless landing more punches that would keep his already rocked opponent on queer street as he would secure the back mount position. Although Sylvia would attempt to control the hands of his opponent Emelianenko would still secure a short choke that would cut the air to the wind pipe forcing Sylvia to tap making Emelianenko the first ever WAMMA undisputed heavyweight champion.
In the co main event of the night IFL super star and Miletich team member “Big” Ben Rothwell would take on former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski. Arlovski would come into this fight looking more focused then ever as he would use his quick hands and footwork to land some lethal combinations that would have his opponent back pedaling the entire fight. To Rothwell’s credit he would show an iron chin as he would weather most of the storms that would be delivered by his Belarusian opponent. As the fight would enter the third round though Arlovski would land a few brutal striking combinations that would include jabs, straight rights and a flying knee that would send the exhausted Rothwell to the floor giving Arlovski his first KO victory since UFC 66.
In what was considered redemption for the Babyfaced Assassin, Josh Barnett would score a win over the only opponent in his career that would hold a win via knock out over him Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo. Rizzo that night would be coming off a 10 month lay off since his last win in September of last year. Barnett on the other hand would come in with two fights this year under his belt as he showed his composure with striking combinations and footwork. As the fight would wear on though the crowd would grow restless as both fighters would be unable to land anything significant. That would change however in the 2nd as Barnett would engage Rizzo and catch him with a vicious right hook that would floor his Brazilian opponent forcing the ref to stop the fight.
Saturday night Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort would make his return to the ring after a 10 month lay off since defeating James Zikic at Cage Rage 23. Sporting a chiseled body and a new fight team Belfort would take on fellow UFC veteran Terry Martin in a 185lbs contest. As the fight would start fans would be somewhat unsure what to expect from this new Belfort as he would play the counter puncher to Martin’s aggression early in the fight. Martin who looked to be winning the fight after round one would be in for a surprise as Belfort’s corner, Randy couture and Shawn Thompson would light a fire under Belfort forcing him to come out aggressive for the second round. As Belfort would push the pace he would be taken down by Martin but would use his scramble ability to get to his feet where he would land a brutal flying knee along with a uppercut and straight right that would KO his opponent showing that the old Vitor is back.
In a light heavyweight contest UFC veteran Edwin “Babyface” Dewees would take on Pride FC veteran Antonio Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira. Nogueira would come into this fight looking to make a big impression as he would use his superior boxing to his advantage. Using his hands he would always keep his opponent at bay as Dewees would attempt to use his kicks to counter Nogueira’s punches. As the fight would go on though Nogueira would use a Muay Thai clinch cobbled a hard right hand to put Dewees down. Watching the action closely as Nogueira would start to land some heavy blows from top position the ref would stop the action giving Nogueira the win via TKO. Matt “The Law Lindland would make his return to the ring Saturday night as he would take on Brazilian Jiu-jitsu specialist Fabio “Negao” Nascimento. Lindland would show no ring rust as he would come out aggressive landing a hook that would put Nascimento on his back as he looked for his signature G-Choke. From that point Nascimento would play defense for most of fight as he would have to deal with Lindland’s clinch and ground control. On occasion as the fight would start back on the feet both would throw sloppy punches as Lindland would show his ring control that would give him the unanimous decision victory at the end of the third round.
The judges Saturday night would have their hands full with decisions as IFL veteran Mike Whitehead would take on fellow wrestler and Jiu-jitsu specialist Renato “Babalu” Sobral. For 15 minutes both fighters would use jabs, right hands and kicks to attempt to finish each other on the feet. In the clinch both would be able to score and stop takedowns, once on the floor though they would nullify each other’s attack as each submission attempt and punch would be stalemated or avoided. As the bell would sound signaling the end of the fight the judges would see fit to award Sobral the unanimous decision victory.
At the post fight press conference Atencio would be quoted with saying “there’s competition now and we wanted to do what we do and do it well” obviously speaking about the shows success that night and its future within the sport. Atencio showed that night with the right marketing, finances and a promoting style not often seen in the fight game a promotion like Affliction could survive in a post UFC MMA world. As the fighters weighted in on their performances that night Babalu would hint at a possible match up against Tito Ortiz, giving his promoter Atencio a look as if he knew something that no one else knew. Arlovski would comment along with his new boxing coach Freddy Roach on how tough Rothwell was and how he feels like a new fighter after this fight. Roach would also comment on how he is only there to help the pitbull with his boxing and as a trainer he still has a lot to learn about the MMA game when it comes to judging the distance with kicks and the takedown.
The Maine-iac Tim Sylvia would comment that night on how he watched tape and put together a game plan but Fedor would just catch him thinking and finish him from there, later he would go on to say “He’s not human, he’s just not human”. Though Sylvia would state that his pride would be hurt that night he would also make it clear that he has been there before and to believe him when he says he will be back. Always humble and short on words the champion Fedor Emelianenko would thank Sylvia for taking the fight and all his fans for coming out and supporting him and no matter whom his next opponent was he would look forward to fighting again for the Affliction promotion. Official Results
Paul Buentello def Gary Goodrich via Decision (Unanimous) 5:00 R3
Vitor Belfort def Terry Martin via KO 3:12 R2
Mike Pyle def JJ Ambrose via Submission (RN-Choke) 2:51 R1
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def Edwin Dewees via TKO (Ref Stoppage) 4:06 R1
Matt Lindland def Fabio Nascimento via Decision (Unanimous) 5:00 R3
Renato Sobral def Mike Whitehead via Decision (Unanimous) 5:00 R3
Mark Hominick def Savant Young via Submission (Armbar) 4:25 R2
Josh Barnett def Pedro Rizzo via KO 3:15 R2
Andrei Arlovski def Ben Rothwell via KO 1:14 R3
Fedor Emelianenko def Tim Sylvia via Submission (Short Choke) 0:36 R1