UFC on FOX 18 vs. Josh Barnett
Following his win over Mitrione, Rothwell was initially booked into an October co-main event matchup in Dublin, Ireland against Stipe Miocic that was to carry serious championship implications, but a couple of weeks prior to the event, Miocic was forced to withdraw due to injury and the bout pairing was scuttled.
A month later, Rothwell was booked to face Barnett in the co-main event of the initial UFC on FOX show of 2016 in Newark, New Jersey, and though it didn’t come with the same elevated stakes as the matchup with Miocic would have, this was yet another opportunity for the surging veteran to make his case for contention and he did just that.
The opening round was a mixed bag, with each man finding a home for a couple stiff punches, with Barnett opening a small cut over the bridge of Rothwell’s nose and “Big Ben” really starting to find a rhythm and get off his best offense in the final minute of the frame.
Rothwell started a little quicker in the second, pressing the action and forcing Barnett onto his back foot far more than he had done in the first round. With 90 seconds left in the round and the exchanges starting to take a noticeable toll on each man, Barnett closed the distance and snatched up a single leg attempt, only to have Rothwell immediately start reaching for his signature five-finger guillotine.
It took a little longer to cinch it in than it had against Mitrione, but Rothwell was still able to clamp onto Barnett’s neck, tightening the squeeze from top position as they drifted to the floor, becoming the first man to finish Barnett by submission in his lengthy career.
For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here.