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UFC Fight Night 75 fight card: Josh Barnett vs Roy Nelson full fight preview

Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson will collide TONIGHT (Sat., Sept. 26, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 75 inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. In a match up of knockout artist vs. catch wrestler, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight veterans Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson will go to war TONIGHT (Sept. 26, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 75 inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Barnett hasn't fought in several years, but he's still a relevant Heavyweight basically by default. However, to maintain that status, Barnett needs to get past the division's most powerful gatekeeper in Roy Nelson.

Speaking of, "Big Country" has hit a serious rough patch. He's won just one bout in his last five matches. And while he's not in danger of being cut, Nelson really needs to prove that he's still a dangerous fighter.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Josh Barnett
Record: 33-7
Key Wins: Frank Mir (UFC 164), Randy Couture (UFC 36), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pride Final Conflict Absolute)
Key Losses: Travis Browne (UFC 168), Daniel Cormier (Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier), Mirko Filipovic (Pride 28, Pride 30, Pride Final Conflict Absolute),
Keys to Victory: Barnett is one of the most skilled ground fighters in Heavyweight history. A catch wrestling specialist, Barnett has managed to yank on the limbs of many top fighters in his nearly two decades of professional fighting, securing 20 submission victories.

There's really only one way Barnett loses this fight, and that's at the end of Nelson's overhand right. Besides that, Barnett is the superior wrestler, grappler, conditioned fighter and perhaps even the more skilled striker.

None of that matters if Barnett gets clipped.

Luckily, Barnett is a pretty crafty defensive fight and has always had a pretty stiff jaw. Since Nelson gets very tired about halfway through the second round in just about all of his fights, Barnett can largely focus on avoiding the overhand and waiting for Nelson to gas himself out.

To do that, Barnett should definitely focus on circling away from Nelson's power and keeping his back off the fence. If he does need to circle to Nelson's right, Barnett simply needs to be ready to roll under the power punch. Finally, Barnett could look to close the distance and clinch up.

Once Nelson is tired, his punches will be slower, less powerful and obvious. It's then that Barnett can really look to impose his game.


Roy Nelson
Record: 20-11
Key Wins: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (UFC Fight Night 39), Stefan Struve (UFC Fight Night 21), Matt Mitrione (TUF 16 Finale)
Key Losses: Fabricio Werdum (UFC 143), Stipe Miocic (UFC 161), Junior dos Santos (UFC 117)
Keys to Victory: Nelson's game plan of throwing the overhand right until his opponent falls may be simple, but it hasn't stopped him from flattening 14 men and winning The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). And while he never relies on it, it must be mentioned that Nelson is a legitimate black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Really, Nelson's only key to victory is to land his right hand cleanly on Barnett's jaw. If he manages to do that, he'll probably win. If not, expect Barnett to have his hand raised.

Early on, Nelson needs to be aggressive. His takedown defense has been consistently strong, so Barnett probably won't be able to take or hold him down immediately. Therefore, he can look to put his opponent on the defensive and walk him into the cage.

From there, Nelson can use his usual attempts to force his opponent to circle into the overhand. It would be great to see Nelson mix an uppercut or two into his attack -- like the one he used to rock "Meathead" Mitrione -- as Barnett does duck under punches quite a bit.

Basically, this is a standard Roy Nelson fight, because "Big Country" pretty much fights with the same strategy in every bout.

Bottom Line: While neither man really appears to be a title contender, Heavyweight is strange. Depending upon injuries and match ups, either fighter could find himself close to the strap after just a couple fights.

At this point, Barnett has been competing professionally for 18 years. That's a very long time, and on the heels of a lengthy layoff, the question of whether Barnett still has it must be asked. Nelson is the personification of that question, and the answer is the outcome.

If Barnett wins, his position at the top of the division remains the same. Otherwise, his career as an elite Heavyweight is likely over.

On the other hand, Nelson may be fighting for his survival. It's basically an accepted fact that Nelson is the gatekeeper to the top 10 and that all of Nelson's recent losses come to quality competition, but the damage Nelson takes will definitely add up.

At some point, he will begin to fall apart.

In this bout, a win keeps Nelson's position and buys him some time. On the other hand, a loss means that Nelson needs to take a step back in competition and see if he's still capable of beating fighters outside the rankings.

At UFC Fight Night 75, Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson will clash in the main event. Which Heavyweight will remain standing when the dust settles?

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