The stage was set on Saturday evening as the UFC went to Hamburg, which would look to see Andrei Arlovski bounce back from his loss against Alistair Overeem, just over the border in Rotterdam.
It was however Josh Barnett who defeated his opponent with a rear-naked choke. The American took an eye poke in the second-round, which the referee didn’t see, but whilst not one to complain, Barnett carried in which involved taking the fight to the floor, and an eventual victory.
British star Scott Askham lost his bout against UFC debutant Jack Hermansson via decision after a tough three-round battle. It was by no means an easy fight for Hermansson, who battered Askham with hard right hooks and knees to the body, which ultimately led to the unanimous decision.
Arlovski - Barnett via submission
Neither fighter waited to get a feel for each other as the two exchanged uppercuts in the opening 20 seconds, which saw both fighters stunned for a moment. Barnett came into this fight 18lbs heavier, which proved to be vital when in the clinch up against the cage, however, Arlovski managed to land the outside trip before landing a number or right hand punches.
A close first round by all means meant it was tough to call for the judges.
Both fighters showed just how much of a chin they have, taking punches like it was nothing normal. Whilst Arlovski looked strong in the takedown, Barnett did well to reverse them before getting the full mount, which resulted in a submission win for the American with a rear-naked choke in the second.
Gustafsson defeats Blachowicz unanimous decision
Heading into the co-main event, Alexander ‘the Mauler’ Gustafsson came in as favourite, but it was the Polish fighter who started off the better. The two fighters came out attacking, but it was Jan Blachowicz who got the better of his opponent in the first round – despite judges scoring the round against him – landing hard left hooks to the face of a bloodied Gustafsson.
The Mauler did however improve in the second, and it’s clear to see just how exquisite his stamina is. Not only does he have quick, hard shots, but the rate to which he lands them is what nearly saw him earn that heavyweight belt, against Jon Jones.
A big round from Gustafsson in the second saw the Swede take his opponent to the floor, landing a number of heavy blows, as Blachowicz tired, which proved to be a problem in the third.
A much disciplined performance saw Gustafsson clinch the victory in the third round via decision. The Swede landed a number of takedowns before passing Blachowicz’ and showing why he’s one of the best at ground and pound, landing a number of elbows.
Following his victory, Gustafsson hopes that this victory will put him on the road to another shot at the title.