Another huge fight in the welterweight division is in the works. That and more in the latest edition of MMA odds and ends:
Neil Magny vs. Gunnar Nelson, UFC Fight Night 130
A welterweight scrap between Neil Magny and Gunnar Nelson is headed to UFC Fight Night 130, which takes place Sunday, May 27 at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. The bout was reported by MMA journalist Farrah Hannoun, and will likely serve as the co-main event (and injury insurance) to the headliner featuring Darren Till and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Magny (20-6) is 13-5 overall since joining the UFC and is coming off of arguably the most high-profile win of his MMA career thus far, a decision defeat of Carlos Condit back at UFC 219. Magny has climbed the welterweight ladder several times in his career but has fallen when stepping in competition for the most part. But he’s still a very successful fighter with an impressive record inside the Octagon and at 30-years-old is right in his prime Nelson (16-3-1) is 7-3 in the UFC and is coming off of a KO loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio last summer. Nelson is one of the most successful grapplers in the welterweight division with six submission wins in the UFC alone, but like Magny he just has now been able to take that next step in his career. Like Magny, Nelson is in his prime at age 29, and a win here would put him back into title contention. This is a really intriguing matchup and I could realistically see either guy taking it. Magny almost always has a cardio advantage in his fights and I’m not expecting anything different here, but Nelson will have a huge advantage in the grappling and should be able to hold his own in the striking department. It’s a close fight but based on histroic odds for both fighters, I’m expecting Nelson to be a slight favorite.
Josh Barnett Suspension Lifted
USADA has announced that effective immediately it has lifted a suspension against UFC heavyweight fighter Josh Barnett, and has issued a public apology to the former champion. Barnett tested positive for ostarine in late 2016 and has been sitting on the shelf since then. But an independent arbitrator ruled that Barnett unknowingly used a contaminated substance that contained the banned substance, and thus reached the decision to overturn his suspension. Barnett is now free to fight again in the Octagon, and there’s no doubt the matchmakers will be on the phone trying to get him a fight so he can get back into the heavyweight title mix immediately.