In a battle of aging former UFC heavyweight champions, 38-year-old Josh Barnett submitted 37-year-old Andrei Arlovski in round three with a rear-naked chock on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night at the Barclayclad Arena in Hamburg, Germany. These heavyweights are two of the more recognizable names from the past in MMA. It’s unfortunate that they are no longer relevant to this day and age with the younger heavyweights that control the sport.
Barnett and Arlovski were both hurt in round one from big punches to the head thrown from the stand up position. Neither guy looked particularly skillful in terms of defense, but their power was very much there. Both were hurt in the opening seconds of the fight when they were dropping bombs on each other. Barnett skillfully took the 6’3 ½” Arlovski to the mat in round one with a take down. Arlovski seemed to get the better of Barnett in round one, however, with his solid punches to the head.
Barnett grabbed Arlovski in the 2nd round and began to use his power and size to tire him. They both were punching well in a back and forth type of affair during the round. There were some nice shots landed by both guys. Near the end of the round, Barnett used his size to force Arlovski up against the fence.
Arlovski then took Barnett to the ground for a take down. This is where Barnett’s superior wrestling skills worked to his advantage with him getting a reversal to get on top. Barnett was then able to land some nice shots with Arlovski on the canvas and unable to do anything but cover up. To Arlovski’s credit, he was able to make it out of the round.
In round three, Barnett took Arlovski down and got him in a rear-naked choke and was able to get him to submit. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:53 of round three.
The results of this fight leave a lot of questions about where each of these MMA fighters go with their respective careers. Arlovski has lost his last three matches, and this latest defeat has to be seen as the kiss of death for his career. Barnett has lost two out of his last four fights, which is not good.
“Andrei and I came here to give you guys a great fight,” Barnett said via mmafighting.com. “We did our absolute best. We tried to take each other out. We went for the finish every time. I know we slowed down but, even though he’s got abs he’s a heavyweight too. Please give it up for Andrei Arlovski. I’m a born fighter. I took an eye gouge over in the corner, but they didn’t see it. Incidental but, it was a little scary, especially now that I can feel my eye swelling up. The main thing was getting past the physical level. Andrei was strong, he was giving it his all. He was making me work a lot harder than I wanted to, and I was forcing the punches just a little bit too much. But, hey man, give me an opportunity, give me a limb, I’ll take it home. I wanted that arm real bad, that double wrist-lock, but I bailed on it, went to the striking and went for that short choke.”