Way of Reckoning

JOSE RODRIGUEZ

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

With more than half his 29 wins by submission, heavyweight juggernaut Fedor Emelianenko isn't known for his great grasp of the stick-and-move or rope-a-dope.

His opponent tonight, Andrei Arlovski, knows this and has recruited Freddy Roach -- who prepped Manny Pacquiao for his lopsided victory over Oscar De La Hoya -- to teach him the finer points of the sweet science.

Arlovski hopes his focus on boxing will solve the world's most unsolvable mixed-martial artist.

Emelianenko, in his usual subdued pre-fight demeanour, says he isn't too worried.

"I have never claimed to be the best boxer, technically, in the world. I have never made any generalizations about my boxing skills," says the World Alliance of Mixed-Martial Arts champ as he prepares to put his belt on the line at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.

"Mr. Roach is a great boxing trainer; trained some of the best. But we will see what happens."

Emelianenko has cemented his place in MMA history by taking out some of the sport's top fighters. He hasn't lost since 2000, and his record of 29-1 is better than any other world champ in any weight class.

Tonight, he makes his second appearance for upstart fight club Affliction.

It's a place where Emelianenko feels comfortable yet challenged, even compared to Pride Fighting Championship.

"It is hard to compare the two organizations. It is two different cultures," says Emelianenko. "The common thread, though, is that both are class organizations. But Pride is in my past and Affliction is the future."

DE LA HOYA'S DOUGH

With plenty of star power in and out of the ring, and the deep pockets of Donald Trump and De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, Affliction is the No. 2 fight club, trailing only the UFC.

De La Hoya, who has made more than a half-billion dollars in the world of loose trunks and big gloves, likes mixed-martial arts.

"Golden Boy got involved because who does not want to be involved in the greatest MMA event?" he told a New York press conference this week. "I believe we can be one of the premiere promoters in the MMA world. A little competition never hurt anyone."

Fellow Mexican-American and former UFC light-heavyweight champ, Tito "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Ortiz, will also make his Affliction debut tonight -- as a commentator.

"I am very excited to possibly fight for Affliction one day," says Ortiz. "But for now, as a commentator on the show, I'll call it the way I see it."

Day of Reckoning also features Josh Barnett vs. Gilbert Yvel, Vitor Belfort vs. Matt Lindland, and Renato "Babalu" Sobral vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.

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IN THIS CORNER

ANDREI "THE PITBULL" ARLOVSKI, MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Arlovski was destined to become a Belarusian cop, then discovered the Russian martial art of Sambo. Interested in weights and self-defence after being bullied in his youth, Arlovski took up Sambo and rose to world youth champion before his 20th birthday. He was set to live out his life as a police officer until his Sambo prowess brought him to MMA and eventually the UFC, where he became a world champ. His opponent tonight, Fedor Emelianenko, is also a Sambo ace.

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ON THE CARD

FUTURE FIGHTS AND EVENTS

- Affliction: Day of Reckoning goes tonight from Anaheim. WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett vs. Gilbert Yvel. Available on pay-per-view.

- Royal Rumble: Tomorrow, 8 p.m., pay-per-view. Features 30-man Royal Rumble; John Cena vs. JBL; Jeff Hardy vs. Edge; Beth Phoenix vs. Melina.

- UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre defends his belt vs. lightweight champ B.J. Penn Jan. 31 at UFC 94 in Las Vegas. On pay-per-view.


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