Gunnar Nelson Submits Bryan Barberena In First Round With Slick Armbar

Gunnar Nelson and Bryan Barberena, UFC 286 weigh-in ceremony Photo: Jamie Theodosi/Cageside Press

Bryan Barbarena took on another fighter veteran at UFC 286 when he faced top-15 welterweight contender Gunnar Nelson on the PPV card.

Barbarena took on a trio of sports legends Matt Brown, Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos in this match, so even a man as revered as Nelson, in fame It is also a step for him. However, ‘Bam Bam’ has shown weakness against fighters in the past, so this isn’t necessarily an easier matchup. Gunnar returned to the cage in 2022, three years after he ruled Takashi Sato. The promise Nelson has shown in his top welterweight campaign has the potential to get him back in the rankings, but he has to get past Barbarena first.

Gunnar and Barbarena start feeling each other, bouncing on their positions – orthodox Nelson and left-handed Barbarena. Bryan targeted the karate fighter with a leg kick that badly grazed Gunnar’s calf, but Nelson kept pushing forward, appearing to be preparing to hit the ball. After 100 seconds of combat time, he got stuck. Barbarena defended the game well at first with the frame and hook, but Nelson was able to struggle to hit a double.

After a minute of clenching, Gunnar was able to go deep with one leg, lifting Bryan and laying him on his back, settling for the first half. Nelson elbowed down from the top position for a full minute before finally isolating his arm and scrambling to grab the rail. It was a risky move, but the final seconds of the round limited the potential downside; what’s more, Barbarena was forced to click just seconds later.

Official result: Gunnar Nelson def. Submitted by Bryan Barbarena (armbar), Round 1, 4:51

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