UFC Fight Night 76: Barnett vs. Nelson Date: September 26, 2015 Location: Saitama, Japan Venue: Saitama Super Arena Broadcast: Fight Pass UFC Heavyweight Contender Josh Barnett A legend in the sport of MMA and long known as one of the best and most controversial heavyweights in the sport, Josh Barnett (33-7) is a Pancrase champion, a Pride GP semifinalist, a UFC champion and a popular athlete among fans, but he also carries the stigma of failing multiple drug tests for PEDs. He was the heavyweight champ back in the golden era of the UFC after beating Randy Couture, but he had his title stripped of him due to banned substances. Barnett then took his trade to Japan, becoming a top heavyweight once again while fighting for PRIDE. He returned to the U.S. as part of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, ultimately losing a decision to Daniel Cormier in the finals. When UFC bought Strikeforce, Barnett came over and has gone 1-1 with a TKO win over Frank Mir and a KO loss to Travis Browne. Now he takes on Roy Nelson at UFC Fight Night 76, but not after the two heavyweights coach TUF Japan. UFC Heavyweight Contender Roy Nelson Winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10, outspoken, big-bellied heavyweight Roy Nelson (20-11) may be undersized and seemingly out of shape, but he is a student of the MMA game and always exciting. His grappling credentials are never to be questioned – he is an instructor and Renzo Gracie black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, plus he has insanely heavy hands that have delivered five Knockout of the Night bonuses. He also has a chin made of granite. A formula for MMA popularity if there ever was one, UFC president Dana White realized the 38-year-old Las Vegas resident is ratings gold and cast him as a coach opposite fellow heavyweight contender Shane Carwin in TUF 16, a fight that never happened due to Carwin retiring from the sport because of a bad back. Nelson then lost to Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier in back-to-back fights, but he bounced back with a brutal KO of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC Fight Night 39 to earn a fight with Mark Hunt at UFC 185. However, he was surprisingly knocked out in that fight, and you have to wonder if his chin is finally starting to give out. He showed his trademark durability in a decision loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 185, but he took a ton of damage in that fight. Now, after coaching TUF Japan, he will take on Josh Barnett in the main event of UFC Fight Night 76. Opening UFC Fight Night 76 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Barnett a -210 favorite (bet $210 to win $100) while Nelson opened as a +160 underdog (bet $100 to win $160) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Barnett hasn’t fought since a December 2013 KO loss to Travis Browne, so he will be coming into this fight with a lot of ring rust. He has been busy doing pro wrestling, but that’s not MMA. As for Nelson, he’s coming off of a loss to Alistair Overeem and overall he’s lost four of his last five fights. Barnett hasn’t fought in a long time, but he has the wrestling advantage over Nelson, as well as the edge in conditioning. Nelson always has that puncher’s chance, but Barnett is the better overall fighter and that’s why he enters this fight as the clear favorite.
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