Veterans of Ultimate Fighting Championship's Heavyweight division Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson delivered epic performances during their UFC Fight Night 75 main event inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan last night (Sat. Sept. 26, 2015).
Coming into the evening's headliner, Barnett and Nelson were surrounded by questions regarding their legitimacy and place in the 265-pound division. Since both men came into their tilt in "The Land of the Rising Sun" on a losing streak, it was imperative that they tried to secure a 'W.'
Barnett did that, and then some.
For 25 minutes, Barnett and Nelson pushed the pace, striking at range, while also fighting in close and on the mat. Takedowns were had and head kicks were exchanged with Barnett being hailed as the victor via unanimous decision.
In the early portions of round one, Nelson aimed to utilize more of a wrestling-heavy approach and had success with takedowns. He scored multiple takedowns throughout rounds one and two, but landed very little in the way of ground and pound.
Still, a small victory nonetheless against the prolific submission ace Barnett.
"The Warmaster" had immense success with his striking, both on the outside and the clinch. The 37-year-old launched several body and head kicks that landed flush on the bearded chin of "Big Country."
However, Barnett's technical work inside the clinch -- though he surrendered several takedowns -- was brilliant. The former PRIDE FC star executed punishing knee strikes in the clinch throughout the 25-minute battle.
This should not take away anything from Nelson's gutsy effort in the Octagon.
Much to the surprise of many, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 winner took Barnett down at least once in four of the five rounds. While he was unable to threaten with submissions, the fact that he was able to control Barnett for extended portions of the bout was impressive.
Not only that, but Nelson was able to land several of his patented right hand haymakers during exchanges in the earlier parts of their tussle.
It was clear in the championship rounds who was the fresher fighter and that man was the former UFC heavyweight champion Barnett. The CSW Fullerton representative looked lean and mean at the weigh ins and was able to persevere through Nelson's takedowns and heavy hands.
Barnett (34-7) earns his first UFC victory since Aug. 2013, while Nelson (20-12) collects his third-straight loss.
For complete results of the UFC Fight Night 75: "Barnett vs. Nelson" fight card, click here, and for the recap click here.