The UFC® is headed back to Japan with another stacked card headlined by heavyweight’s Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson. This clash will take place at the Saitama Super Arena on the 27th of September, the organization’s fourth visit to Japan.
Former UFC® heavyweight champion Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett (33-7, fighting out of Fullerton, Calif., USA) equally packs a punch with 10 wins by knockout and 18 submissions in his MMA career. With 13 fights in his career having taken place in Japan, including a legendary PRIDE clash with Mirko Cro Cop in 2006, Barnett will feel right at home in Saitama Super Arena. Barnett has thrilled loyal fans over the years with wins over UFC heavyweight champions Frank Mir, Rodrigo ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira and Randy Couture and looks to add Nelson to his impressive resume. Not to be outdone, former Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights champion, Roy “Big Country Nelson (21-11, fighting out of Las Vegas, NV, USA.) will be looking to make one more run at UFC® glory after a career made famous by an iron chin and hands of stone. All seven of Nelson’s wins in the UFC have been by KO or TKO, with signature victories over Minotauro Noguiera, Matt Mitrione, Mirko Cro Crop and Stefan Struve.
In contrast to the immense knockout power of the heavyweights, No. 7 ranked middleweight Gegard Mousasi (37-5-2, fighting out of Leiden, The Netherlands) brings technical excellence to the card with precision striking honed through his kickboxing background. After recently defeating former pro boxer Costa Philippou in Manila, Mousasi is again showing what made him a champion in Strikeforce® as he makes his way back to the top. Standing in his way is fifteenth-ranked Brazilian Roan “Jucao” Carneiro (20-9, fighting out of Atlanta, Georgia, USA), a former Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion who knows a win over a name like Mousasi will announce that no one in the 185lb. weight class is out of reach.
Fans can expect an action packed international card featuring UFC fighters from around the world, who will all be looking to make their mark in Japan.
Other confirmed bouts for UFC FIGHT NIGHT® JAPAN: NELSON vs. BARNETT include:
Rising Japanese UFC star, Kyoji Horiguchi (15-1, fighting out of Tokyo, Japan), the eighth-ranked flyweight recently fought UFC champion, Demetrious Johnson in Montreal, Canada. Horiguchi will be looking to triumph once again in the Saitama Super Arena. Horiguchi’s opponent will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
A welterweight bout between China’s “The Leech” Li Jingliang (10-3, fighting out of Beijing, China) taking on Japan’s own, “Strasser” Kiichi Kunimoto (18-6-2, fighting out of Osaka, Japan) who has won three out of his last four fights.
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (18-6, fighting out of Tokyo, Japan), once compared to Bruce Lee has an incredible 13 wins by knockouts, he will be looking to continue this form against Matt Hobar “The Crowbar” (9-3, fighting out of Dallas, TX, USA), who has been wrestling from the age of four.
UFC Fight Night Japan®: Nelson vs. Barnett will also include the finale of the UFC’s newest TV format, Road to UFC®: Japan. The program will follow 8 fighters from Japan, all dreaming of becoming a UFC fighter. Throughout the series, we will see these athletes train at home and in the USA at the world famous TUF gym in Las Vegas. They will be split into two teams, one lead by UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson and the other Josh Barnett who are the main event of UFC Fight Night Japan. The athletes will bring their honed skills, strength and pure will, as they battle it out inside the Octagon®. The last two fighters who emerge will go on to fight at UFC Fight Night Japan®: Nelson vs. Barnett in front of thousands of fans inside the Saitama Super Arena and millions of fans watching from around the world. The winner of this momentous fight will receive the much coveted UFC contract and will join the fittest athletes on the planet. This exciting new format will be aired on TV Tokyo and BS Japan.
Road to UFC: Japan:
Tuesday’s from 7th July, 1am Japan Time
Sunday’s from 12th July, 12am Japan Time
Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT® JAPAN: NELSON VS. BARNETT go on sale Thursday, Jul 2 at 12 p.m. Japan time and are priced at JPY100,000 (VIP), JPY24,000 (RS), JPY 9,800 (S), JPY4,800 (A), plus applicable service charges. Tickets are available via Lawson, Ticket Pier, Kyodo Tokyo, e-plus, Boardwalk and Tokyo Weekender. UFC Fight Night Japan will be broadcast on WOWOW.
For more information or current fight news, visit ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.