Josh Barnett

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Josh Barnett has an opponent now for the upcoming Affliction card, but it isn’t Brett Rogers or Aleksander Emelianenko as previously rumored. It’s Gilbert Yvel, someone who probably has an even smaller chance of getting licensed in California than Aleks does. In terms of “meaningful fights,” this one isn’t, so I’m not going to lie and say I’m not disappointed in the match-up. Either of the rumored opponents would have much better in my opinion, but I suppose they just didn’t work out for whatever reason. If you really hate this fight, check out Zach Arnold’s thoughts on it. He hates it too.

The press release also mentions that one of the Discovery Channel’s “Fight Quest’ co-hosts, Jimmy Smith, will be calling the action. Apparently, he and this other guy, Sean Wheelock have been the broadcast team for the M-1 Challenge, thus how they got the job. I’ve watched a little bit of the M-1 Challenge, but admittedly haven’t paid any attention whatsoever to the announcing, so I couldn’t tell you one way or the other if this is a good thing, although they couldn’t be any worse than Glazer and Trigg. Five Oz. has more on them if you’re interested.

Anyways, here’s the press release.

M-1 Global is pleased to announce that Gilbert Yvel, one of its top heavyweight competitors, has agreed to terms on a three-fight contract with Affliction Entertainment.

Yvel will make his Affliction debut against former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett on January 24 in Anaheim, California at the Honda Center during “Day of Reckoning,” to be presented by Affliction, M-1 Global, and Golden Boy Promotions.

Despite being veterans of the now-defunct PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan, Yvel and Barnett have never fought before with “Day of Reckoning” serving as the first-ever meeting between the two.

Yvel, 33-12-1, who is known for the strong Muay Thai skills he developed while training in his home country of Holland, has been competing in mixed martial arts since 1997. Over the years, the veteran fighter has recorded notable victories over K-1 standout Semmy Schilt, current UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo, and former PRIDE and UFC veteran Tsuyoshi Kohsaka.

Yvel’s involvement serves to increase M-1’s contributions to the event, as M-1 contracted fighters Fedor Emelianenko and Kirill Sidelnikov are already scheduled to compete.

Fedor will be featured during the show’s main event when he defends his WAMMA heavyweight title against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski.

Meanwhile, the 19-year old fighting prodigy Sidelnikov, nicknamed “Baby Fedor,” will be making his United States debut against former UFC heavyweight title challenger Paul Buentello in an undercard bout to be televised on HDNet.

Additionally, the M-1 Challenge broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Sean Wheelock and color commentator Jimmy Smith will be calling the action during Affliction’s pay-per-view telecast. Wheelock and Smith can be seen and heard in the U.S. every Friday at 8 p.m. ET during airings of the M-1 Challenge on HDNet.