[4/8/2008] Top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) will fight Tim Sylvia (Pictures) on July 19. The Russian mixed martial arts champion confirmed the bout to Sherdog.com on Tuesday.
"[Sylvia] is a good fighter, a strong fighter, the former UFC heavyweight champion, which is important," Emelianenko said via telephone from Stary Oskol, Russia. "I am looking forward to fighting him and training hard for this fight."
While Emelianenko was short on details, Sherdog.com has learned through sources close to the negotiations that Fedor-Sylvia would headline a card tentatively scheduled for the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, the home base of HDNet Fights.
Attempts to confirm the fight with HDNet went unreturned, however sources indicate the bout will air on the Mark Cuban-owned network and is rumored to be promoted by Affliction, a clothing brand closely tied to MMA.
Affliction had been connected with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, however a June 28 Las Vegas date has since been discarded.
Emelianenko, a 31-year-old sambo practitioner, has faced criticism from media and fans alike after a string of fights against less than stellar competition. Sylvia would represent the Russian's first ranked opponent since his unanimous decision over Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic nearly three years ago.
Widely regarded as the top heavyweight fighter in the world, Emelianenko (27-1-0, 1 NC) was recently freed from a letter of intent binding him to the now-defunct M-1 Global promotion.
Sylvia, 32, is coming off a submission loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pictures) in February at UFC 81. After a spirited performance that saw him batter his foe at will with strikes, Sylvia (24-4-0) eventually fell victim to a classic Nogueira come-from-behind performance and succumbed to a guillotine choke early in the third round.