Josh Barnett knows how to work a crowd. | File Photo
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder Josh Barnett may have been born in Seattle, but he won over the fans at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, with his choice of walkout song on Saturday at UFC Fight Night “Barnett vs. Nelson.”
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 winner and onetime International Fight League champion Roy Nelson walked out to their main event to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” but Barnett countered with a Japanese anthem entitled “Ai Wo Torimodose,” by Hokuto no Ken. Not only is the tune the theme song for the anime cartoon “Fist of the North Star,” but it was also the walkout song Barnett used when he competed in Pride Fighting Championships, an organization for which he last fought in 2006.
The nod to the audience during his entrance seemed to spur Barnett inside the Octagon. He brutalized Nelson with his elbows, fists and knees in the clinch while also maintaining control of the standup. In his first appearance in nearly two years, Barnett wore down “Big Country” with a barrage of body blows, earning a five-round unanimous decision.
All that can be said about “The Ultimate Fighter 17” finalist Uriah Hall’s first round against onetime Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi was that he survived. After walking to the cage to Stan Bush’s “Fight to Survive,” Hall was taken down and dominated on the ground by the -380 favorite Mousasi for much of the first round. He managed a few submission attempts off his back, though little else went his way. Hall was forced to defend a number of rear-naked chokes from Mousasi but managed to get through the round.
At the start of the second, Hall’s hard work and determination paid off. The middleweight landed a devastating spinning back kick to the face, followed by a flying knee and subsequent ground-and-pound, as he put away Mousasi 25 seconds into round two of their co-headliner.
Meanwhile, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner Diego Brandao’s undercard bout with Japanese karateka Katsunori Kikuno came and went like a sandstorm, much like the Brazilian’s walkout song, Darude’s “Sandstorm,” suggested it might. Brandao connected with a crushing right on Kikuno’s chin, backed it up with ground-and-pound and brought the fight to a close in just 28 seconds.
Other notable choices included Limp Bizkit’s “Rollin,” which played prior to Shinsho Anzai’s injury-shortened showdown with Roger Zapata; Kanye West’s “Black Skin Head,” which trumpeted Zapata’s arrival; and Ozzy Osbourne and Busta Rhymes’ “Iron Man” remix, which preceded George Roop’s unanimous decision loss to Takeya Mizugaki.
A rundown follows:
UFC Fight Night ‘Barnett vs. Nelson’ Walkout SongsJosh Barnett: “Ai Wo Torimodose” | Hokuto no Ken
Roy Nelson: “Born in the U.S.A.” | Bruce Springsteen
Uriah Hall: “Fight to Survive” | Stan Bush
Gegard Mousasi: “Artsakh” | Ara Gevorgyan
Kyoji Horiguchi: “My Time” | Fabolous
Chico Camus: “Invincible” | Machine Gun Kelly
Takeya Mizugaki: “Wake Me Up” | Avicii
George Roop: “Iron Man” | Ozzy Osbourne and Busta Rhymes
Diego Brandao: “Sandstorm” | Darude
Katsunori Kikuno: “We Are the World” | USA for Africa
Mizuto Hirota: “Eat the Rich” | Aerosmith
Teruto Ishihara: “Lion No Ko-Yashabo Version”| Spinna B-lll
Keita Nakamura: “Keep on Rockin” | Unicorn
Nick Hein: “Speed TK Remix” | TK
Yusuke Kasuya: “Double the Monster” | Skyzoo & Torae
Kajan Johnson: “On Top” | Flume
Naoyuki Kotani: “The One” | Kojima
Shinsho Anzai: “Rollin” | Limp Bizkit
Roger Zapata: “Black Skin Head” | Kanye West