Edson Barboza Jr. was in a tough spot in his career heading into UFC 134.
Undefeated in his career, the young Brazilian had such flashy and impressive performances for his first two fights that the expectations were raised to a very lofty position as he headed into his bout at home against former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner Ross Pearson.
What happened in Rio was a back and forth battle that Barboza came out on top of via split decision, but not without taking some licks from Pearson along the way.
Pearson didn’t show an ounce of fear striking with Barboza in the fight and the Brit showed that by stepping forward continuously through the 15 minute affair.
The aggressiveness paid off early, catching Barboza off guard with good strikes and boxing. Barboza switched to counter the British slugger and started throwing more kicks to keep him at a distance.
Once he found his range, Barboza was able to open up his offense and kept Pearson from taking the fight to the mat. The Brazilian fired off a series of kicks and also landed strikes that bloodied up Pearson’s face.
The damage from those strikes that saw Pearson with crimson flowing down his face may have been the difference when the judges rendered their decision. A split decision announced by Bruce Buffer ultimately went in Barboza’s favor.
“In each fight we take a step up the UFC ladder, in each fight we get better,” said Barboza who moves to 3-0 in the Octagon.
Definitely his toughest match to date, Barboza undoubtedly learned a lot from his bout at UFC 134 against a very tough Ross Pearson.
Barboza also understands that he’s still a young fighter learning the ropes, so he’s not ready to start calling anybody out just yet. He’s just happy to fight whoever the UFC puts in front of him.
“I just want more,” Barboza stated. “I just want to fight.”