A key heavyweight matchup has been added to the UFC’s traditional year-end event as Josh Barnett meets Travis Browne.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported the booming, and UFC officials subsequently confirmed it.
Featuring two heavily anticipated title fights with middleweight champ Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva and women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate, UFC 168 takes place Dec. 18 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and Facebook. Barnett vs. Browne will be part of the main card.
Barnett (33-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC) currently sits at No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA heavyweight rankings while Browne (15-1-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) is just behind at No. 7.
Barnett is a former UFC heavyweight champion who earned the belt in 2002 with a win over Randy Couture. A subsequent failed drug test saw Barnett lose the belt, and he went on to fight in Japan for the next several years.
Barnett returned to the UFC in August, earning a first-round stoppage win over Frank Mir. Barnett is now 10-1 in his past 11 overall appearances.
Barnett had been linked to a planned bout with Stipe Miocic, but the UFC ultimately elected to go in a different direction.
Meanwhile, Browne also fought in August, earning the biggest win of his career to date with a first-round stoppage of former Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem. The lone blemish on Browne’s career mark came in a disappointing first-round loss to Antonio Silva in October 2012, but he’s since bounced back with wins over Overeem and Gabriel Gonzaga.
For the latest on UFC 168, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Josh Barnett)