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Heavyweight contenders Josh Barnett, Ben Rothwell face off at UFC on FOX 18

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

January's FOX card just got bigger. Literally.

A pair of heavyweight contenders, Josh Barnett and Ben Rothwell, will meet in an important bout at UFC on FOX 18 on Jan. 30 in Newark, N.J., it was announced Tuesday night on FOX Sports Live.

Rothwell (35-9) was supposed to fight Stipe Miocic in the co-main event of the UFC's return to Ireland last month, but Miocic got injured and had to pull out. Miocic was then put in a veritable title eliminator against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 195 on Jan. 2. Rothwell's parting gift is not so bad at all. The 34-year-old has a chance to make his own claim as No. 1 contender against Barnett. He has won three in a row, the latest a first-round submission over Matt Mitrione in June.

Barnett (34-7) returned to the Octagon for the first time in nearly two years in September when he defeated Roy Nelson by unanimous decision in Japan. Overall, "The Warmaster" has won three of four and he, too, is right there among the top heavyweights in the UFC. Barnett, 38, is an MMA legend with wins over the likes of Randy Couture, Dan Severn, Mark Hunt and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

UFC on FOX 18 is headlined by a light heavyweight title eliminator between Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader. Also on the card, Jake Ellenberger takes on Tarec Saffiedine.

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