Josh Barnett scored a solid unanimous decision win over Roy Nelson in the main event of Saturday night's UFC Fight Night 75 event in Saitama, Japan. While two scorecards showing scores of 48-47 indicated the fight was close, it was a fight dominated mostly by Barnett. Barnett set a heavyweight record for significant strikes in the bout, scoring 146, with 95 of them coming in the clinch. It was the clinch work where Barnett dominated, landing punches, elbows and knees that weakened Nelson. Nelson gave a hard-fought effort in the loss, and not many expected the two men to go the 25 minutes. After nearly two years off, it showed Barnett has plenty of fight left in him.
In addition to that, Uriah Hall scored a huge upset in the co-main event, landing a spinning back kick to the face followed by a flying knee that put Gegard Mousasi down and out in the second round. It was a huge contrast to the first round, which was dominated by Mousasi controlling on top, and he even came close to putting a stop to the fight. It was the biggest win in the career of Hall, beating a legitmate title contender and top-ten fighter, and he did it on short notice. It was unexpected, but the kind of finish fans were hoping to see from Hall based off his exciting stint on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter.
With UFC Fight Night 75 now being history, it is time for us to put on the matchmakers' hat and let's look at five fights to make for the competitors of the UFC Fight Night 75 event.
Josh Barnett vs. Andrei Arlovski
While Barnett may not be on the winning streak that Andrei Arlovski is enjoying, he is 11-2 in his last 13 fights. Arlovski is 10-2 with a no contest in his last 13 bouts, but he has won six straight fights. Many thought Arlovski may be next in line for a heavyweight title shot, but with the rematch between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez being delayed until possibly April, the heavyweight contenders will be looking for fights. Arlovski didn't exactly cement his status as next in line with his lackluster win over Frank Mir at UFC 191 earlier this month, and he will likely need another win to be back in the discussion. Barnett put his name in the discussion, along with Stipe Miocic, Ben Rothwell, Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem, as fighters in line for title contention in a wide-open heavyweight division. Neither Barnett or Arlovski are getting any younger, and if they want a title opportunity, they need to keep getting fights and wins.
Uriah Hall vs. Roan Carneiro
The 31-year-old Hall showed more of that potential in making history by becoming the first man to stop Gegard Mousasi with strikes in Mousasi's 45-fight career. He withstood a tough first round and showed that dynamic striking skills and excellent finishing power, and he will be shooting up the rankings when they are released this week. After a disappointing start to his UFC career, Hall has gone 5-1 in his last six fights, with the lone loss being a close decision loss to Rafael Natal. Hall most assuredly wants another crack at Natal, but perhaps next for him should be a showdown with the man he replaced in the fight with Mousasi, Roan Carneiro. Carneiro is riding a six-fight win streak and scored an impressive win over Mark Munoz in his return to the UFC. It would be an opportunity for both men to firmly establish themselves as top-ten fighters as well.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. John Dodson
Kyoji Horiguchi rebounded from a title fight loss to Demetrious Johnson in a solid decision win over Chico Camus on Saturday night. Horiguchi finds himself in a purgatory situtation in the flyweight division. Not only did he just lose to Johnson earlier this year, but he was dominated by Johnson before being finished with just one second left in the fight. Horiguchi needs to get on another winning streak if he wants another crack at the championship, and next for him should be someone in a similar position. That would be John Dodson, who is coming off a loss to Johnson earlier this month at UFC 191. It is a perfect fight to make for both men at this stage.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Manny Gamburyan
Takeya Mizugaki got back into the win column on Saturday night, scoring a unanimous decision win over George Roop. He had Roop in trouble many times in the fight, but the tough and durable Roop survived. Mizugaki got the win on the scorecards, and it was a very emotional win for him in front of the Japanese crowd. Mizugaki's post-fight speech made fans think retirement could be in the near future, but he squashed those talks quickly. Coming off a win following a two-fight losing skid, Mizugaki is still a top-ten ranked fighter. He has been booked in the past in bouts against Manny Gamburyan, but injuries have stopped the fight from taking place. With both in a similar position at this stage in their careers, now would be a good opportunity to re-book that fight.
Diego Brandao vs. Brian Ortega
Diego Brandao is an enigma. He either comes out and finishes opponents quick, or he mentally collapses and loses fights. He came out on the good end on Saturday night, finishing Katsunori Kikuno in less than 30 seconds in their fight. It was the kind of performance that makes you think Brandao could be more of a gatekeeper in the featherweight division, but that is where he is right now. He has won two straight fights and still has a chance to become a viable contender if he puts together a streak. He has an exciting style and wants a top opponent. However, he should be matched up with fighters around him right now. Brian Ortega is undefeated and looking to build his resume, and Brandao would be a perfect name to add that. Ortega should be looking for a fight like that, and Brandao should want to test himself against an undefeated prospect.