LAS VEGAS — Chris Barnett is simply 5-foot-9 and has a paunch on his stomach that’s extra paying homage to the sportswriters watching from cageside than from the normally magnificently put collectively UFC fighters. He’s a heavyweight however in some way managed to overlook weight at Friday’s hectic weigh-in, coming in at 267.5 kilos, a pound-and-half over the heavyweight restrict of 266 for a non-title battle.
And seconds into his battle with Jake Collier on the preliminary card of UFC 279 Saturday at T-Cell Area, Barnett was dropped and his left eye was swollen. Barnett was dropped a few instances early within the first and was reeling, however as he was reeling, he was punching. The gang, which had largely been silent in the course of the prior fights, started to roar.
[UFC 279 live results: Updates, highlights and analysis from cageside in Las Vegas]
Each males have been gassed and Barnett was bleeding from each orifice it appeared when he walked again to his nook after the primary. Two of the three judges scored the primary 10-8 for Collier. Little did anybody know that the second spherical would high that frenetic first and that Barnett’s in-cage interview would carry the home down.
Barnett stopped Collier at 2:24 of the second when referee Mark Smith jumped in to cease it as Barnett was firing haymakers from the highest. The gang was frenzied cheering Barnett on and he didn’t cease punching till Smith yanked him away.
He then ran over to the UFC tv workforce and did a entrance somersault in entrance of former heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
“Yo, they gonna say heavyweights, we don’t be out right here throwin’, we don’t be out right here doing it,” Barnett mentioned within the cage as the group roared. “Let me let you know proper now, me, dudes like Jake, that’s what we do. That’s why we on this. We signed to the very best group on the planet — UFC. That’s what we’re. That’s what we do. We come out right here for y’all and I like it.
“Thanks for the love and every little thing. This implies the world to me. This implies the world to me. I like y’all for actual from the underside of my coronary heart, from the underside of it. Thanks. We’re nothing with out y’all. Nothing! Arise for yourselves. Arise for yourselves!”
The start of the tip got here for Collier firstly of the second spherical. Ringside doctor David Watson entered the Octagon to test Barnett’s left eye. He allowed it to proceed and Barnett appeared to sense the urgency to get the job executed or have the battle be stopped.
He opened with a 1-2 that snapped Collier’s head and the group went wild. Quickly, it was chanting “Bar-nett! Bar-nett! Bar-nett!” Barnett picked up the tempo. He stuffed a takedown try and obtained Collier’s again.
He confirmed superb agility for a man who in all probability has a 46-inch waist and a 28-inseam and little doubt retailers completely within the males’s big-and-tall division.
He managed to get into mount and began windmilling punches at Collier.
The world was about 70 % full at that time and the roars have been deafening. Collier wasn’t in a position to enhance his place or defend a lot and Smith halted it. The home erupted.
Barnett then placed on a fair greater present within the Octagon as he was being interviewed.
“Whenever you have been chanting my title — Bar-nett! Bar-nett! Bar-nett! — I heard you,” he shouted in exultation. “I heard you!”
As he walked again to the locker room, he danced many of the manner. He in some way managed to get two beers and laughed when somebody tried handy him one other.
That efficiency, and the interview, is one thing that received’t quickly be forgotten.