The news that Josh Barnett has tested positive in pre-fight screenings has spread like wildfire across the MMA world. Although there are a few interesting matchups on the upcoming Affliction card, this was the main event and feather in the cap so to speak in regards to Barnett/Emelianenko. It's a fight that a lot of fans have been waiting for since forever. However, now it appears that it will not happen and Tom Atencio is left without a main event. Which brings us to possible suitors that could fight Fedor in the main event. There were a couple of names being thrown around in Vitor Belfort and Bobby Lashley, but nothing confirmed at the present time. Let's take a look at possible replacements:
- Vitor Belfort-This will not work. First of all, Belfort is a middleweight now and wouldn't even move up in weight to face Gegard Mousasi at LHW. I know why Belfort has agreed to take the fight, but it's just not a sell-able fight for a main event.
- Tito Ortiz-Ortiz has expressed desire to fight Emelianenko, but he isn't expected to return to action until October. This would be a full two months ahead of schedule, plus he just started actively training again. He would save Affliction PPV wise, but it's just not plausible for him to take this fight.
- Fabrico Werdum-Werdum is a very good fighter, but not known at all in the U.S., not to mention he was destroyed in his last UFC appearance against little known Junior Dos Santos. However, the people that would have ordered this PPV are mostly hardcore fans anyways, so Werdum could be a solid replacement since he has name recognition amongst that group.
- Bobby Lashley-Lashley has some name recognition with the WWE crowd, but that's about it and his MMA career is in its infancy right now. If I were Lashley, I'd take the fight simply because this opportunity is a once in a lifetime. He would have leverage at the bargaining table because it's on very short notice, he has nothing to lose because it's Fedor, and what he lightning struck and he won?
- Brett Rogers-Rogers has never gone to a decision, is a top ten HW, and is undefeated at the present time. He KO'ed Andrei Arlovski quicker than Fedor did, as Arlovski was giving Fedor all he could handle until he got KTFO. Rogers got some publicity after beating Arlovski so he could be a suitable replacement.
That's about it, nobody(or at least I don't) wants to see Emelianenko against Gilbert Yvel or Paul Buentello. Give him Werdum or Rogers in my opinion. Who do you want to see face Fedor now?