LAS VEGAS – Fedor Emelianenko will defend his newly won World Association of Mixed Martial Arts heavyweight championship belt on Oct. 11 against Andrei Arlovski in the UFC’s backyard.
Affliction’s second MMA promotion will be at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus, in the shadow of the UFC’s corporate offices, according to a venue official.
Affliction made its promotional debut last Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., with Emelianenko submitting ex-UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia in just 36 seconds.
Affliction vice president Tom Atencio said Wednesday an announcement on its next show would come Tuesday. But arena director Daren Libonati, who is a big MMA supporter, said he was excited to have Emelianenko back in his building.
Libonati was instrumental in bringing the now-defunct PRIDE Fighting Championship to the U.S. for the first time on Oct. 21, 2006, with a show at Thomas & Mack that featured Emelianenko defending his heavyweight title against Mark Coleman.
“We’re really excited to have Affliction in the building and particularly to have Fedor and all those other great names,” Libonati said. “I remember working so hard with all those people at PRIDE and the ultimate goal was to put on a show (at Sam Boyd Stadium, UNLV’s football stadium) where the PRIDE champions would have defended their titles against the UFC champions.
“That’s what we were working toward in those two (PRIDE) shows we did back then, but it never worked out. We always want to bring big events here, and any time you have Fedor in your building you have a big event.”
Arlovski is a former UFC heavyweight champion who was impressive on Saturday’s Affliction show in stopping Ben Rothwell.