Fresh of a successful UFC 262 last weekend in front of a sold-out crowd in Houston, Texas we are back at the Apex in Las Vegas. UFC Vegas 27 is headlined between former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt going against contender Rob Font. A packed card with names like Carla Esparza, Felicia Spencer, Jack Hermansson, Ben Rothwell, and more is in store for fight fans. There are also many up-and-comers and so far, three promotional debuts are scheduled. One of those is Chris Barnett who is going against veteran Ben Rothwell (38-13 MMA, 8-7 UFC).
Chris “Beastboy” Barnett
Standing at 5’9″
Fighting at 264 lbs (heavyweight)
Fighting out of Tampa, Florida, United States
Training out of Barnett Taekwondo Academy
A pro record of 21-6
How will Barnett fare in the UFC:
It’s nice to finally see Barnett in the UFC. After starting his MMA career in 2009, spending twelve years fighting across the world, and gaining a lot of experience he’s finally on the biggest stage.
The knock on Barnett is that he’s fought a lot of lower-level guys and a lot of journeymen. The best opponent Barnett has beaten is UFC’s Walt Harris back in 2011.
For a guy that has to cut to make the heavyweight limit and someone that’s competed at super heavyweight, Barnett is a very agile big man. “Beastboy” will throw wheel kicks, flying knees, spinning kicks to the body, and 360 kicks. He does that all super smooth and effortlessly. With his stocky build and only standing at only 5’9″, it’s tough for Barnett to find his range. A lot of his success is when he blitzing forward in flurries. He really posses some good output and puts combinations together well, mixing in punches and kicks. Barnett even has some decent wrestling but closing the distance to get his short arms around opposing fighters is a problem
Defensively Barnett will struggle in the UFC as it’s at a much higher level. His takedown defense could be a lot better. With that said, he has that Derrick Lewis style being able to just stand up off his back whenever he wants. He gets stuck on the outside as he’s forced to blitz forward and that’s caused him to be caught on the way in. Barnett has been knocked out twice and that’s him fighting carelessly. He doesn’t mind to fighting in brawls as he has the power in his hands but his chin is always questionable.
Barnett is a fun guy to have in the heavyweight division. Even in defeat, Barnett most likely isn’t going to be in a boring fight. He’s not ever really timid and at least always trying to create action. With his style, build, and age I can’t see him ever as a ranked fighter. He might even find it tough to get wins since these heavyweights are top-level.
- Striking: C+
- Kickboxing: B-
- Clinch: B-
- Wrestling: C+
- Grappling: B-
- Striking Defense: C-
- Takedown Defense: C+
- Cardio: C+
- Biggest Strength: Diversity
- Biggest Weakness: Striking defense
How he matches up with Rothwell:
To step in against Ben Rothwell is a tough test. Rothwell isn’t the same fighter he once was but he’s been fighting the best heayweights out there for the last decade. At first thought, Rothwell is a slow guy with plodding footwork and not really the most heavy-handed heavyweight. Rothwell is still eight inches taller so closing the gap will be a challenge for Barnett. I see a path for victory for Barnett in landing more in the three rounds. Rothwell has very little output and it slows even more as the fight goes. I’m leaning Rothwell but ever so slightly just due to his experience.