Read on for Fight Night New Jersey main card results...
NEWARK, NJ - Like a fine wine, 34-year-old Ben Rothwell is getting better with time. On Saturday at Prudential Center, the heavyweight contender won his fourth straight, submitting former UFC champion Josh Barnett in the second round of the UFC Fight Night co-main event.
The first round was largely a war of nerves waged at close range, Barnett scoring repeatedly with a stiff jab and occasionally with a follow-up cross. These attacks left Rothwell bloodied, but the Wisconsin native’s rushes and flurries kept Barnett from widening his early lead.
Rothwell got more consistent with his output in round two, but the 38-year-old Barnett was fine playing the role of counterpuncher. At least that was the case for a while, until he decided to take the fight to the mat. Rothwell resisted the takedown, instead locking in a guillotine choke. Seconds later, the fight was over, with Barnett tapping out due to a submission lock for the first time in his 19-year career. The official time was 3:48.
More from Fight Night New Jersey: Full results | Post-fight bonus recap | Johnson makes quick work of Bader | Rothwell, Rivera earn wins | Barberena hands Northcutt first professional loss | Saffiedine, Ferreira and Natal among winners at Fight Night New Jersey prelims | Randy Brown wins in his UFC debut | Backstage interviews: Anthony Johnson, Ben Rothwell, Jimmie Rivera, Bryan Barberena, Tarec Saffiedine, Rafael Natal, Alexander Yakolev | Octagon interviews: Anthony Johnson, Ben Rothwell, Bryan Barberena, Randy Brown | Best images from New Jersey
With the win, the number seven-ranked Rothwell improves to 36-9; Fullerton, California’s Barnett, ranked number eight, falls to 34-8.
RIVERA vs. ALCANTARA
Fighting at home in New Jersey for the first time as a UFC fighter, Jimmie Rivera extended his win streak to 18 by defeating Brazil’s Iuri Alcantara. But more importantly, by beating the 14th-ranked bantamweight contender, he likely opened the door to the rankings for himself in the process.
All three judges saw it 29-28.
After a rousing welcome from his home state fans, Ramsey’s Rivera looked to send them home with an early knockout, as every punch he threw was seemingly designed to end the fight. Alcantara, the quicker of the two, landed some hard straight shots throughout the round, but the heavier blows clearly belonged to Rivera, who punctuated the round with a thudding slam.
The pace dipped in the second round, drawing some boos from the crowd, but Rivera continued to stalk Alcantara. That aggression cost him when a left from Alcantara produced a flash knockdown in the final minute, but as soon as Rivera rose, he landed his second takedown of the bout, allowing him to finish the frame strong.
Para’s Alcantara (32-7, 1 NC) got another flash knockdown with the same left hand in round three, but it appeared that the Brazilian was doing too much waiting and not enough throwing, while the opposite was true of Rivera, whose work rate allowed him to take the decision and improve to 19-1.