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"Warmaster" dominated in a lackluster Heavyweight main event at UFC Fight Night 75 last night (Sat., Sept. 26, 2015) in Saitama, Japan.
Josh Barnett -- who came into the fight in arguable the best shape of his career at 239 pounds -- controlled the action over the course of five rounds to earn the unanimous decision victory over Roy Nelson inside Saitama Super Arena.
The three scores were 48-47, 48-47 and 50-45.
Barnett proved superior in the clinch, used an excellent brand of dirty boxing and controlled where the action took place for the entire 25 minutes of the fight.
Nelson was able to land a takedown on Barnett about one minute into the bout and moved into half guard smothering Barnett with top pressure. The former UFC heavyweight champion controlled Nelson's posture to halt the action and force a stand up. Barnett landed some solid knees to the body of "Big Country" and also landed a huge kick as well, and was finding success in the clinch, but Nelson was able to land a second takedown with under a minute left in the round.
In the second round Barnett avoided the big punches of Nelson and landed solid combinations and step-in knees, while mixing in some knees and elbows from the clinch. The No.8-ranked UFC heavyweight continued to have major success by pushing Nelson into the fence, and landing knees and punches. Nelson landed a glancing high kick and Barnett returned fire with a one-two and went back into the clinch before the round's conclusion.
The No.11-ranked heayweight grabbed double underhooks to start off the third round, but could not capitalize aside from a few knees to the Barnett's thigh. Barnett got the fight back to the clinch and again peppered Nelson with short strikes and knees and a few uppercuts. Nelson went in on a single, but Barnett was able to defend. Barnett landed a kick to the body and a knee to end the round.
The fight went into the fourth round, where Nelson has never gone in his entire career, and the fatigue began to set in for both fighters.
Barnett once again went back to his bread-and-butter and wailed away at the 39-year-old Nelson in the clinch with elbows and big punches. Nelson landed a single-leg takedown and Barnett immediately threatened with a leg lock. Then Nelson briefly took the back of Barnett before the two returned to their feet, where Barnett continued to dominate in the clinch.
In the fifth it was the same story as it was in the first four rounds: Barnett's superiority in the clinch. The 37-year-old veteran continued -- albeit at a slower pace -- with more short elbows, and well-time knees to the body. Nelson landed a late takedown and Barnett threatened with a kimura to get back to his feet.
It was a solid performance by Barnett, who gets back into the win column after losing to Travis Browne his last time out at UFC 168. Meanwhile, it was a disappointing loss for Nelson, who showcased his solid chin and resilience, but he has now dropped three in a row. He falls to 20-13.
For complete UFC Fight Night 75: "Barnett vs. Nelson" results, including live play-by-play, click here.