The Breakdown: Affliction 'Day of Reckoning'

Fedor vs. Arlovski

Jan 24, 2009
After a six-month wait and plenty of gloom-and-doom rumors about its impending collapse, Affliction may get the last laugh with a loaded sophomore card. It features the reigning kingpin of heavyweight mixed martial arts, Fedor Emelianenko, taking on fellow Eastern European Andrei Arlovski for the right to be called the best heavyweight alive.

Backing up that worthy main event is a clash between two UFC castaways in Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, as well as 2000 Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland in a middleweight matchup with the always mercurial Vitor Belfort.

That and plenty more awaits the MMA faithful this Saturday, as the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., plays host to Affliction “Day of Reckoning” -- a mega card sure to keep the boys in the UFC up at night.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski

Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 6’0/235 lbs.
Age: 32
Hometown: Rubizhne, Luhansk, Ukraine
Fighting out of: Stary Oskol, Russia
Record: 28-1 (1 NC)

The stakes: Emelianenko has been the best heavyweight in the world for what seems like an eternity. That status is what’s on the line against Arlovski, who’s looking to vindicate himself after several missed opportunities.

Besides that obvious bit, it’s also important to remember that Emelianenko is basically the lynchpin of Affliction’s T-shirt-fueled MMA venture, and the jury is still out on the stoic Russian as a pay-per-view superstar. If Emelianenko’s serious about not doing business with the UFC, he needs to keep Affliction’s business afloat.

The breakdown: This is an interesting clash for Emelianenko in the sense that Arlovski is an unbelievably talented fighter, both physically and fundamentally, when his head is screwed on straight. That weakness is the one Emelianenko must key in on quickly, as “The Pitbull” becomes more of a Labrador whenever the going gets too tough for his liking.

With that in mind, the vintage Joe Frazier approach that toppled Tim Sylvia in Emelianenko’s Affliction debut would be the best way to shatter Arlovski’s fragile psyche. Even if Emelianenko fails to score a quick knockout, it would get Arlovski on his back foot and make him think twice about stepping forward. From there, Emelianenko has the option of either bullying Arlovski standing or going for the takedown and giving an American audience a peek at the ground-and-pound that inspired the Large Hadron Collider.

Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 6’4/240 lbs.
Age: 29
Hometown: Minsk, Belarus
Fighting out of: Chicago
Record: 14-5

The stakes: While Emelianenko could retire tomorrow and be assured of his place as the Jack Johnson of MMA, Arlovski would be more like Andrew Golota in the minds of many, as his moments of mental malfunction overshadow his days as UFC heavyweight champion. In other words, this is probably Arlovski’s last chance to make good on the hype and cement his place as one of the elite heavyweights of his time.

As it stands now, Arlovski’s just another candidate for the Coulda Woulda Shoulda Hall of Fame. Obviously, a win over the preeminent heavyweight of this era would go a long way towards getting the masses to remember him as someone worth remembering.

The bottom line: Many pundits who tabbed Arlovski as the future of the heavyweight division would love to be retroactively proven right, but this just isn’t the kind of opponent Arlovski can handle. Some may say both men have issues with their chins and that a striking showdown will come down to who lands the big one first, but while Emelianenko has never backed down from a scrap, Arlovski often shies away from contact when he feels an opponent can separate his head from his shoulders.

If anyone can pull off the Jason Voorhees super punch of doom from “Jason Takes Manhattan,” it’s Emelianenko. Even if Arlovski can seize the upper hand on the feet, Emelianenko has his strong clinch and ground game upon which to fall back.
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