36-Year-Old UFC Heavyweight 36-10-0
April 8, 2018 Ben Rothwell News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Rothwell has accepted a two-year ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping agency, stemming from a positive test that occured on Feb. 6, 2017, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
Rothwell spent more than a year trying to appeal the decision based largely on his attempt to get a therapeutic use exemption for the testosterone he tested positive for. The heavyweight fighter will ultimately just play the cards he's dealt, and will be eligible for a return to the Octagon in February of 2019, at which point he'll be 37 years old. Rothwell lost his most recent fight to Junior dos Santos, but had been on a four-fight winning streak leading up to that, with victories over respected fighters such as Alistair Overeem and Matt Mitrione. The Wisconsin native could still make an impact in the heavyweight rankings upon his return, as the division remains relatively shallow.
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Fantasy AnalysisRothwell's name may be damaged a bit by this, but he won't be officially suspended until the adjudication process is complete. The 35-year-old was on track for a fight against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 211 in May, so he'll need a quick resolution if the promotion still wants to keep that heavyweight fight on the card.
Fantasy AnalysisRothwell suffered a knee injury during training for a bout with Fabricio Werdum in September which he eventually withdrew from. The 34-year-old heavyweight recently underwent surgery and has just regained the ability to walk. While he has a number of months of recovery ahead of him, he is optimistic that he can have a significant impact on the MMA when he returns. He told reporters, "I can bring the heavyweight division to the level it needs to be." It seems apparent that whoever Rothwell faces upon his return will have their hands full with a highly motivated fighter.
Fantasy AnalysisRothwell had been scheduled for a heavyweight bout that would have served as the co-main event, but the 34-year-old will withdraw, and presumably lose a sizable payday as a result. Rothwell had put together four straight victories prior to a loss to Junior Dos Santos in April, and one of those victories was over Alistair Overeem, who will be fighting for the title on the main event of this card. The matchup between Rothwell and Werdum would have determined who would be next in line after Cain Velasquez to face champion Stipe Miocic (if he takes care of business against Overeem), but now, Rothwell's path to a championship opportunity becomes a bit murky.
Fantasy AnalysisRothwell is coming off of a poor effort against Junior Del Santos, for a loss by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 86. Rothwell had trouble landing any punches at all on JDS. He will get another chance to bring up his ranking by beating Werdum, a former heavyweight champion. Rothwell has about 20 pounds on Werdum, but in the heavyweight division, any advantage is somewhat erased by the unpredictability of knockouts.
Fantasy AnalysisIn the biggest fight of his UFC career, Rothwell didn't win a single round on any of the judge's scorecards. The closest round was the first one, but even that was a clear win for JDS. Rothwell actually looked worse as the fight went on and he never came remotely close to landing anything damaging on Dos Santos. JDS' chin appeared to have weakened in his last few fights, but Rothwell landed so little that he was unable to take advantage of it. It was as poor of an effort as you could possibly imagine, especially from a guy who was coming off four-fight winning streak. Rothwell is going to plummet down the rankings after this one. He now could have as many as six or seven guys ahead of him in the pecking order of the UFC's heavyweight division.
Fantasy AnalysisRothwell has won four fights in a row and six of his last eight, but he still doesn’t get the respect he deserves in the heavyweight division. He is a very intriguing character, but he doesn’t really look the part of a potential future champion. Considering how poor Dos Santos has looked for the last year or so, this is about as good of a matchup as Rothwell could have hoped for. He gets a fight against a well-known fighter who’s game is clearly slipping. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Big Ben can earn the next title shot if he can finish JSD impressively. He has long been underrated, but there still aren’t many fans and experts who consider him a legitimate title contender. That will chance if he can beat Dos Santos.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was eerily similar to the submission finish Rothwell picked up over Matt Mitrione. Barnett attempted to muscle Rothwell up along the fence, but Big Ben just wrapped up Barnett's head and the fight was over moments later. This should change the minds of anyone who thought that Rothwell's recent surge in the UFC's heavyweight division was a fluke. Rothwell has a ton of experience and he has fought the very best fighters in the world for the better part of a decade. He isn't all that far from potentially earning a title shot.
Fantasy AnalysisA veteran of the IFL, Rothwell seemed destined to play the role of gatekeeper in the UFC heavyweight division before a torrid run of three stoppage victories punched his ticket to Saturday's co-main event. Rothwell, who was originally set to square off with Stipe Miocic in Dublin on Oct. 24, could well be in line for a title shot with a victory Saturday -- injuries to Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velazquez have left the heavyweight division wide open for new contenders.
Fantasy AnalysisFinally, Rothwell has himself another fight lined up. Due to face Stipe Miocic in Dublin last month, that fight fell apart when Miocic was injured and had to withdraw. It's another prime opportunity for the underrated Rothwell to move up the UFC's heavyweight rankings.
Fantasy AnalysisRothwell had originally been booked for a UFC Fight Night event scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland on Oct. 24. With the promotion unable to find a replacement, he had to be dropped from the card, likely pushing the Parke/Medadi bout up to the co-main event. Currently the No. 7-ranked heavyweight fighter, Rothwell will likely need to square off against at least one more top contender before receiving title fight consideration.
Fantasy AnalysisThis fight is certainly good news for Big Ben. He gets to take on a guy who was considered a prime title contender and he has a chance to fly up the rankings if he can pull off the upset. Rothwell has won three in a row, including a submission victory over Matt Mitrione in his last fight in June.
Fantasy AnalysisRothwell's fights are never particularly pretty, but he's effective. Mitrione attempted to take the fight to the ground and Rothwell was able to slap on a front choke. He's so big and strong that Mitrione was forced to tap out. He also gave a pretty terrific promo (WWE style) with Jon Anik at the end of the fight. Rothwell doesn't give the impression of being a great athlete, but he usually finds a way to win. The guy has lost just four fights, all against quality opponents (Andrei Arlovski, Cain Velasquez, Mark Hunt, Gabriel Gonzaga) in the last seven years.