It was a fight between two former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) titleholders that was originally supposed to happen almost a decade ago, but it was certainly worth the wait.
Josh Barnett (35-8 ) submitted Andrei Arlovski (25-13 1NC) earlier today (Sat., Sept. 3, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 93 inside Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, in an action-packed heavyweight main event that featured plenty of big momentum swings before its conclusion.
The official time of the stoppage came at 2:53 of round three.
It was an incredibly fast-paced start to this one. Both fighters exchanged big shots that rocked one another early in the opening seconds, but Arlovksi was worse for wear as a cut opened up on his forehead. Barnett clinched up and pressed Arlovski against the fence and landed a few foot stomps. Arlovski scored an outside trip and took Barnett down to the canvas. A now very bloody Arlovski stood up in the open guard of Barnett looking to come down with a big punch. Referee Leon Roberts stood the fighters up for lack of action. When the action resumed, Arlovski landed a few big punches and Barnett smiled back at him afterward. In the final seconds Barnett moved in on a takedown against the fence, but came out empty as the round drew to a close.
In the second, Barnett moved in fast and clinched up Arlvoski again and pressed him into the fence where he had him at the end of the first round. Arlovski reversed position, but the action stalled and Roberts moved them back to the center of the Octagon to restart the action. "The Warmaster" pressed Arlovski against the fence again, but "The Pit Bull" circled out. With just under two minutes left, Arlovski scored another trip takedown, but Barnett reversed position when they hit the ground and then quickly transitioned into mount. Barnett began raining down big shots until the round came to an end.
Arlovski landed some huge punches in the beginning of the third round and Barnett turned his back after an unintentional eye poke. However, the referee did not halt the action and Arlovski came forward forcing Barnett to defend himself and get back into the fight. Barnett grabbed a two-on-one for a kimura attempt and dropped down to land a gorgeous sacrifice throw, which resulted in him sweeping Arlovski over and landing on top in side control.
From there, it was only a matter of time.
Barnett gained full control and secured a rear-naked choke, forcing Arlovski to tap to earn the submission win. Barnett can now lay claim as the first man to ever submit Arlovski in his entire career.
"Give me an opportunity. Give me a limb and I'll take it home," Barnett told Dan Hardy after the fight.
Great win for Barnett, who proved why his grappling and submission game is still among the very best in the UFC heavyweight division. He was ranked No. 9 in the division heading into this bout and should move up a few spots since Arlovski is currently ranked No. 6. Barnett improves to 7-3 in the UFC and 3-2 in his second stint with the promotion.
Arlovski has now dropped three in a row. He falls to 14-7 in the UFC, 4-2 in his second stint since returning to the promotion in 2014.
For complete UFC Fight Night 93 "Arlovski vs. Barnett results, including play-by-play updates, click here.