Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Affliction Banned: The Baby Faced Assassin

Affliction Banned July 19th, obviously the focus is on Fedor and Tim Sylvia, but I have to say I am really excited to see Josh Barnett fight. The Baby Faced Assassin, as he is known to his fans, last fought in the US on the PRIDE 32 card in October 2006 which was his only appearance in the US after leaving the UFC in March of 2002. Needless to say, the guy has been busy in Japan racking up victory after victory over the world's best since he left the UFC; Jeff Monson, Minotauro Nogueira(Interim UFC Heavyweight Champ), and Aleksander Emelianenko just to name a few of his victims. Unfortunately, because he has been fighting in Japan most of us in the States have only seen his recent work on Youtube or on the FSN PRIDE FC fight shows, but what we have seen has been spectacular. I would count his two bouts with Minotauro as two of the best ground displays I have seen by heavyweights ever. The master of Catch Wrestling versus a master of Jui Jitsu, lived up to its billing both times and it was fitting that each fighter took home a victory. Trust me dial it up on youtube, its worth it.
His upcoming match up versus Pedro Rizzo on July 19th is a redemption match for Josh as Pedro represents his only loss in the UFC and on US soil. Granted, this match up probably carried more luster 3-4 years ago, because Pedro has only fought four times in the past three years, and his record outside the UFC is spotty at best, but he has performed well in his past two matches. In his most recent match, Pedro TKO'd Jeff Monson in September 2007, whom Barnett defeated by decision in May.
In my mind, Josh is still at the top of his game and Pedro is pretty much on the way out. If Josh was to get a shot, I think stylistically he presents big problems to Fedor. Its probably the reason Sakuraba never put the fight together when PRIDE was around. Even if this match up is a little one sided, I am definitely pumped to see the Baby Faced Assassin live and back in the USA.

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