Heavyweight Martin Buday made his promotional debut at UFC Vegas 51 on Saturday, against a fighter who had become a fan favorite following his last outing: Chris Barnett.
The jovial, rotund Barnett had smoked Gian Villante with a wheel kick in his last outing, a seemingly improbable maneuver for a fighter his size. His enthusiastic post-fight celebration had won over any members of the crowd still questioning his star turn.
Brings the party anywhere he goes 🎉
— UFC (@ufc) April 16, 2022
Unfortunately, Saturday simply didn’t go Barnett’s way, with an injury, then a foul, souring his night.
A minute into the heavyweight clash, Buday started to let his hands go. Every punch landed on the mark and he pressed Barnett against the fence. Buday had some good pressure using his head, just grinding on Barnett. Barnett did escape and landed a nice leg kick on the break. Barnett being the much shorter fighter threw wild punches and none connected. The bigger guy Buday pressed him against the cage again and he ended the round there landing a few good knees to the gut.
Barnett opened up round two with some flash throwing a switch kick. Buday responded with a series of punches to put Barnett right back against the cage. Buday stayed busy attacking the body of Barnett with knees and punches. Barnett would put Buday against the fence and soon after Buday reversed and he was in control. When the space was there Barnett allowed Buday to just press him back against the cage over and over. Buday did land a flying knee into a combination to the body to clinch back up. The round ended against the fence and a knee to the body from Buday.
Between rounds, Barnett could be overheard informing his corner of a rib injury — potentially a broken rib. He went out for the third round regardless.
It didn’t take long into the final round for Buday to put Barnett against the fence. Buday landed a knee to the body that dropped Barnett. Barnett survived and worked his way back up and Buday illegally landed a elbow to the back of the head and the fight was paused. The doc was brought in, and ruled that Barnett couldn’t finish and the fight went to the scorecards. The end result was a technical decision win for Buday, with many questioning why a point wasn’t deducted for the foul — with the ref’s explanation being that Barnett had turned his head.
Official Result: Martin Buday def. Chris Barnett by technical decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)