Ben Rothwell
Returns from three-year layoff with loss
HeavyweightUFC
March 9, 2019
Rothwell lost to Blagoy Ivanov via unanimous decision (28-29, 28-29, 28-29) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Wichita, Kansas.
ANALYSIS
Rothwell's first fight in nearly three years was a massive struggle and he still may have deserved to win. On the sidelines due to a two-year USADA suspension, Rothwell spent the majority of the contest struggling to connect against his much smaller opponent. He did a nice job of both controlling the pace of the bout and consistently pushing forward, but Rothwell looked considerably rusty after all the time away. Now 37 years old, Big Ben can't afford many more losses. Assuming he made it through this one relatively healthy, Rothwell needs to get back into the octagon ASAP. Prior to Saturday, Rothwell's last loss came against Gabriel Gonzaga way back at UFC on FX 7 on January 19, 2013.
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Returning against Blagoy Ivanov
HeavyweightUFC
January 8, 2019
Rothwell will make his return from a two-year USADA suspension in a match against Blagoy Ivanov at UFC Wichita on March 9.
ANALYSIS
Rothwell has been out of competition since losing to Junior dos Santos back in 2016 after failing a drug test and being hit with a two-year ban. He'll face a relative newcomer on his return. Ivanov has taken part in just one UFC fight, losing by unanimous decision (also against dos Santos) in his debut in July.
Accepts two-year ban from USADA
HeavyweightUFC
April 8, 2018
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.
ANALYSIS
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.
Flagged by USADA
HeavyweightUFC
March 7, 2017
Rothwell (knee) has been flagged for a potential USADA violation, Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Rothwell'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.
Eyeing 2017 return
HeavyweightUFC
September 30, 2016
Rothwell (knee) is targeting an early 2017 return to competitive fighting, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Rothwell 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.
Out of fight against Fabricio Werdum
HeavyweightUFC
August 11, 2016
Rothwell has suffered a knee injury during training that will force him to withdraw from UFC 203 in Cleveland on Sept. 10, Damon Martin of FOX Sports reports.
ANALYSIS
Rothwell 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.