#UFC 218 #Conor McGregor #Francis Ngannou #UFC 217 #Alistair Overeem #Nate Diaz #Mike Perry #Max Holloway #GSP #ESPN Boxing - Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux #Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux

luke-barnatt-2.jpgMANCHESTER – “The Ultimate Fighter 17? cast member Luke Barnatt picked up the biggest win of his young career, submitting a durable Andrew Craig in a bout where “Bigslow” twice thought he’d won by knockout.

The middleweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 30 event at Phones4u Arena in Manchester, England. It streamed on ahead of the main card on FOX Sports 2.

Barnatt took the center of the cage early and used his reach to strike from distance, countering Craig low kicks with stiff straights in return. Meanwhile, Craig continued to move in and out of range, working combinations to the head and body to get past his opponent’s reach. While Barnatt worked well with his length, Craig answered with powerful shots and appeared to be gaining momentum.

Then it all changed.

Barnatt scored a right hand to the chin, followed by a pinpoint left, and Craig crashed to the floor. But Barnatt lacked the killer instinct needed to finish the fight, and he let Craig work back to his feet. While Craig was still obviously wobbling, Barnatt let him survive until the bell.

Fortunately for Barnatt, it didn’t matter.

“Biglow” went on the attack again in the second, wounding Craig once again with strikes. This time, it was an uppercut, and Barnatt oddly again tried to walk away with the win. When he realized it wasn’t going to happen, he pushed to the floor and hopped to his opponent’s back, sinking in the fight-ending rear-naked choke at the 2:12 mark of the frame.

After the win, Barnatt admitted the finish was always on his mind.

“He’s never been finished,” Barnatt said. “I said I was going to finish him. First one to finish him, and I just did it. I’m ecstatic.”

Barnatt (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) remains unbeaten. Craig (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is finished for the first time in his professional career.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 30 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 30, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

Matt Erickson contributed to this report on-site in Manchester.

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