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UFC Fight Night 93 fight card: Andrei Arlovski vs Josh Barnett full fight preview

MMA: UFC on Fox 18-Barnett vs Rothwell Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champions Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett will clash TODAY (Sept. 3, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 93 inside Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany. In a match up of submission master and knockout artist, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Let's break it down.

Since returning from lengthy layoff, Barnett has looked quite fierce inside the Octagon, though he did lose his last bout. Now that the catch wrestling has really refined his striking game, his strategy heading into this bout is something of a mystery. Arlovski surged back into UFC several years ago and rose all the way up to the top five. Since then, unfortunately, Arlovski absorbed a pair of knockout losses — admittedly to the current champion and No.1 contender — and is now looking to rebound once more.

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:

Andrei Arlovski
Record: 26-12 (1)
Key Wins: Travis Browne (UFC 187), Frank Mir (UFC 191), Antonio Silva (UFC Fight Night 51)
Key Losses: Stipe Miocic (UFC 195), Alistair Overeem (UFC Fight Night 87), Anthony Johnson (WSOF 2)
Keys to Victory: Arlovski may be a bit older nowadays, but he's still one of the fastest men in the Heavyweight division. Relying on his Sambo background to keep himself upright and his right hand to put his foe flat on the mat, Arlovski is a very dangerous athlete.

In this bout, speed will be key.

Barnett is a very technically well-rounded fighter, and he's tough as an old shoe. However, he's never been the quickest or strongest Heavyweight, nor has he been able to consistently drag elite fighters to the mat.

His clinch game is something of a fix for that flaw, but it can be avoided.

To avoid grappling and fully capitalize on his speed, Arlovski should focus on his footwork with the goal of maintaining distance. By keeping his range, Arlovski can force his foe to try and close the distance.

When that happens, Arlovski will have opportunities to counter or strike with in-and-out punches. Barnett may be difficult to knock out, but damage will slow him even further, and Arlovski is a master of knocking out iron-chinned heavyweights.


Josh Barnett
Record: 33-8
Key Wins: Frank Mir (UFC 164), Roy Nelson (UFC Fight Night 75), Randy Couture (UFC 36), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pride Final Conflict Absolute)
Key Losses: Ben Rothwell (UFC on FOX 18), Travis Browne (UFC 168), Daniel Cormier (Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier)
Keys to Victory: Barnett is an extremely talented submission fighter, and he's reasonably talented at scoring takedowns as well. However, his most effective skill recently has been his clinch fighting and dirty boxing, as Barnett has really become a dangerous fighter at close range.

As mentioned above, Barnett will need to close the distance to impose his game plan, and that could be difficult.

Luckily, Barnett has shown some solid skill at closing range. To nullify his opponent, Barnett should stalk his opponent from the Southpaw stance. At some point, Arlovski will throw his overhand. Arlovski knows it, Barnett knows it, I know it, even Mike Goldberg probably knows it. When he does, that's Barnett's opportunity to level change and push into the clinch.

Once there, Barnett shouldn't waste too much energy trying to drag his foe to the mat. Instead, he can maintain position and batter his foe, as he has five rounds to hand Arlovski another knockout loss.

Bottom Line: Only one of these men can still be a Heavyweight contender.

Arlovski has put on some strong performances in his current UFC run, and his only losses come to the best of the best. However, he’s also taken a lot of hard losses across his career, meaning another defeat means he should probably take a step back in competition. With a win, Arlovski is back in the title mix. He’ll have to win a couple more bouts to receive a title shot, but the dream is definitely alive.

Barnett really has looked better than ever in his recent performances, and he could easily be in the immediate title picture if not for a couple small mistakes. If he makes another in this match and is finished, it may be a sign that his legendary durability has finally run up.

If Barnett is victorious, he’s fairly close to the belt. Since he hasn’t fought either Miocic or Overeem, he could be just two wins away from a shot at the strap.

At UFC Fight Night 93, Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett will throw down in the main event. Which fighter will remain standing when the dust settles?

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