Despite being already booked for an epic matchup with Khalidov at ACB: Supersonic in Manchester, England, Barnatt headed to Romania for RXF 25 on Monday to take on Cristian Mitrea, who before the bout had a record of 5-0 with all of his wins via first-round stoppage.
Some would've said the British fighter was rolling the dice by taking a fight against an unbeaten Romanian in his own backyard and at a higher weigh class, but they needed not to be worried.
Even with all these factors playing against him, Barnatt made it look effortless.
In his first-ever fight at light heavyweight, Barnatt had a big size and reach advantage and used it effectively from the opening exchanges. The finish to the fight came with barely three minutes on the clock, and it was a sensational one at that.
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The Romanian looked to close the distance by throwing big power punches, but his shots were wild and the Brit easily slipped them and clinched him up with his back to the cage. From there Barnatt unleashed some devastating knees and elbows to the face, piercing Mitrea's guard with shots five, six, and seven and sending him face first to the mat.
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It was brutal finish from a man who has gone four wins on the bounce since being cut from the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2015.
Barnatt's win on Monday evening no doubt makes March's showdown with Khalidov all the more mouthwatering.
Khalidov (31-4-2) is unbeaten in the past six years and last competed back in May when he successfully defended his KSW belt for the first time against Aziz Karaoglu at KSW 35.
The Russian-born Polish fighter is considered a legend among the Polish and Russian people, and with both communities well-represented in the U.K., Khalidov is likely to have good support when he squares off with the Venator FC middleweight champion at the Manchester Arena.
Barnatt's win in Romania takes his record to 12-3. If he can get a notable victory over a big name like Khalidov in Manchester, Barnatt will have a strong case that he should be back among the world's elite in the UFC.