Not many people were expecting the UFC Japan headliner to go all five rounds. But Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson did exactly that, with Barnett taking a unanimous decision win. The fight was pretty entertaining, despite a lot of it taking place in the clinch. Nelson got some surprising takedowns and landed some shots, but Barnett controlled the large majority of the 25 minutes to take the victory. The scores were 48-47, 48-47, and 50-45 for The Warmaster.
Barnett opened the fight trying to stalk Nelson a bit, but he ended up getting taken down. Nelson laid on top of him for a while not really doing anything before the fight was stood up again. Both men landed some good shots, with Barnett arguably getting the better of it. Nelson scored another late takedown though.
Barnett hurt Nelson against the cage early in round two, pummeling him with knees, elbows, and punches. Nelson held on, but looked tired. Barnett continued to beat him up, but Nelson rang his bell with an uppercut and a head kick closer to the end of the round.
Nelson tried to work a clinch game against the cage early in round three, landing the odd knee to Barnett's legs. The ref separated them for inactivity after a minute or so. After Nelson tried it again, Barneett took over and connected with a big uppercut in close. Nelson ripped him back with a combo and grabbed a single leg, but couldn't get the fight to the floor. He had Barnett up in the air at one point too, but no dice. Barnett ripped Nelson with a kick to the body late.
Nelson looked pretty tired coming out for round four. Barnett connected in close against the cage. Nelson took Barnett down with a single leg but was immediately reversed and they returned to the feet. Barnett clinched up and beat the tar out of Nelson on the inside with uppercuts, knees, and elbows. Nelson was firing back but wasn't all that effective. Nelson got a takedown. Barnett reacted immediately by going for a leg lock. They returned to the feet and worked against the cage some more.
Nelson connected with a big body kick that made Barnett smile early in the final round. Like the earlier stanzas, a lot of the fifth was spent in the clinch with Barnett landing the harder strikes. Nelson looked for a takedown and eventually got it with two minutes to go. Barnett looked for a kimura and got back up. They did some more work against the cage, both men visibly exhausted. The ref separated them and they both landed some hard shots all the way to the horn.