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Matt Brown Meets Bryan Barberena in Brown’s Home State of Ohio on March 26


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A beloved Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight is getting a chance to fight in front of a home crowd for the first time in 2014.

The news first broke from MMA Fighting on Thursday, announcing that Matt Brown (23-18) will be squaring off with Bryan Barberena (16-8) at the UFC on ESPN event on March 26. The currently unnumbered fight card on the flagship network of the UFC’s broadcast partner will go down inside of the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The two were previously booked against one another in December, but the pairing fell through when Brown contracted COVID-19.

Brown, who has since confirmed this matchup on his Instagram account, rebounded from a pair of defeats to Miguel Baeza and Carlos Condit by starching Dhiego Lima in June. The 40-year-old Ohioan has seen tough sledding the last several years, winning only four times in 11 appearances. Dating back to June 2012, all nine victories for “The Immortal” have come by stoppage, who proudly celebrates a finish rate of 91% in his storied career. Brown last competed in Ohio when he headlined UFC Fight Night 40 against Erick Silva in Cincinnati in May 2014.

Minnesota’s Barberena has alternated wins and losses in his last four, with triumphs over Anthony Ivy and Darian Weeks interspersed by setbacks against Randy Brown and Jason Witt. Although not as high as his opponent, “Bam Bam” brings with him a 75% stoppage rate in his own right, with his last two victories on the scorecards accounting for half of his decision wins. Of note, Barberena is the only fighter in the sport to ever defeat both Jake Ellenberger and his brother Joe Ellenberger, doing so against both inside the Octagon.

The UFC on ESPN card on March 26 will take place at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, in what should be the first non-pay-per-view offering in a U.S. city besides Las Vegas. Helming the card is a pivotal light heavyweight rumble pitting former champ Jan Blachowicz against rising star Aleksandar Rakic. Other key tilts on the show include a flyweight contest between Kai Kara France and Askar Askarov, as well as a strawweight tilt pitting Amanda Ribas against Michelle Waterson.

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