Fedor Emelianenko knew this could happen.
Weeks before his mega-fight with former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, Emelianenko was informed that the winner of the matchup would face the winner of another high profile fight on the same card; Josh Barnett vs. Gilbert Yvel.
Arlovski was the seventh former UFC heavyweight champion that Emelianenko has faced and defeated. At Affliction’s next show he will likely face his eighth.
According to Affliction VP Tom Atencio, the winner of Emelianenko-Arlovski would face the winner of Barnett-Yvel. Barnett and Emelianenko won their respective fights this past Saturday, apparently setting up an awkward battle between two very close friends. The two have never faced one another despite spending a significant amount of time at the top of a stacked PRIDE heavyweight division.
And while Barnett has stated that their friendship wouldn’t get in the way of a potential matchup, Emelienenko was less than enthusiastic about the prospects of fighting his friend.
“Right now I’m just thinking of him as my friend,” Emelianenko said at Affliction post fight press conference. “We’re very close.”