The UFC announced as of yesterday that a heavyweight match-up is to headline UFC Fight Night 93 in Hamburg on September 3 with veterans Andrei Arvolski (25-12) and Josh Barnett (34-8) set to square off for the first time in the octagon.
Despite a wealth of experience shared between the two with nearly forty years and eighty fights under their belts, the two longstanding heavyweights have never come face-to-face before. Having originally been scheduled to face one another in January 2009 at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, Barnett would ultimately end up fighting Gilbert Yvel on that card, while Arlovski would go up against Fedor Emelianenko.
Both fighters are in need of a victory as Arlovski has endured a dismal 2016 thus far with two successive knockout defeats by Stepe Miocic and Alaistair Overeem, thus ending his six fight win streak which brought him to the brink of title contention.
Meanwhile, Barnett has competed sporadically over the last two years, only making a couple of appearances in the octagon with a five-round unanimous decision victory over Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson before being submitted, for the first time in his career, by a modified guillotine choke from Ben Rothwell.
Also added to the card, which will take place at the Barclayscard Arena, Hamburg is the Light Heavyweight clash of American Ryan Bader (20-5) and Swede Ilir Latifi (12-4).
Bader, who is ranked sixth in the Light Heavyweight rankings will be desperate to make his return to the octagon after suffering a devestating 84-second knockout loss to Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, thus shattering the considerable momentum he had garnered with a five-fight win streak over considerable names such as Rashad Evans, Ovince St.Preux and Phil Davis.
His return will however be in no terms easy as he takes on the ‘The Sledgehammer’ who comes into the bout on the back of a three-fight win streak, most recently earning a well rounded points victory over Chris Weidman teammate Gian Villante at UFC 196.
Another name being rumoured for the card is that of Alexander Gustaffson who according to MMA journalist Ariel Helwani is eyeing the UFC Hamburg card as his return date.
— Marcus Filipsson (@FilipssonMarcus) May 28, 2016
His team told me last week that is the date he would like to return. https://t.co/pmwqRYkOtI
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 28, 2016
The ‘Mauler’ will be desperate to get a win under his belt after three defeats in his last four fights to the divisions best, so as to remain relevant for title contention.