World-ranked heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Josh Barnett are set to clash in January when the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to New Jersey.
UFC officials on Tuesday announced that Rothwell and Barnett have agreed to square off as part of UFC on Fox 18 “Johnson vs. Bader,” which takes place Jan. 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The matchup joins a burgeoning fight card which includes a top-10 light heavyweight headliner between Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader, plus a welterweight attraction pitting Tarec Saffiedine against Jake Ellenberger.
Rothwell, 34, will go in search of his fourth consecutive win following a first-round submission of Matt Mitrione in June. The 6-foot-4 Wisconsinite was slated to face Stipe Miocic on Oct. 24 in Dublin, but Miocic withdrew from the bout, and with the organization unable to find a replacement opponent, Rothwell was pulled from the card.
Barnett, 38, returned from a nearly two-year absence in September to win a clinch-filled, 25-minute decision against Roy Nelson in Japan. The onetime UFC titleholder has competed three times since returning to the Octagon in 2013, besting Nelson and Frank Mir but suffering a brutal knockout loss to Travis Browne.