This weekend, Fedor Emelianenko garnered the attention of the MMA fans across America in his Strikeforce debut on network television.
Unbeknown to many, the man whom he was slated to fight in the heavyweight dream match that evaporated in the fateful few days in July also resurfaced in victorious fashion -- albeit in a far more arcane corner of the MMA fandom.
Josh Barnett took the tournament gold in the ultra heavyweight/pessadisimo (over 215 pounds) division among the blackbelts at the World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship 2009 held at California State University in Long Beach, Calif., on Nov. 8. In the tournament final, Barnett bested Ralph Gracie pupil, Bruno Paulista.
Paulista had an impressive showing against the larger Barnett -- he demonstrated nifty guardwork, locking up Barnett and threatening him with triangle choke from high guard and arm bar via knee bar feint. Despite struggling to pass Paulista's guard, Barnett defended well against his submission attempts and kept up the pressure throughout the 10 minute contest.
In the end, Barnett received the judge's nod.
In his own words regarding his victory at the tournament:
"I'm the 2009 No-Gi BJJ World Champion. Thanks to all for the support and to my opponents as well. Catch Wrestling lives!"
Barnett was pulled from the headlining bout against Emelianenko at Affliction "Trilogy" after testing positive for anabolic steroid in the pre-fight drug test. The event was canceled a few days later and the promotional demise followed in the wake.
Though his return to Sengoku had been rumored, his status with the organization remains uncertain. He has been granted a second extension for an appeals hearing that he had requested after the California State Athletic Commission denied his re-licensure due to the outcome of the aforementioned drug test.
The new hearing will be held on Dec. 8.
Click here for the full result of the World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship 2009
Stay tuned to MMAmania for further news regarding Josh Barnett.