Edson Barboza took another step up the lightweight ladder at UFC Fight Night 57 on Saturday night in Austin, Texas.
To come out with a victory, he needed to step his game up against a red-hot Bobby Green, and that’s exactly what Barboza did.
Green took the center of the Octagon from the opening bell, constantly walking Barboza down, and launching punch combinations, but it would be Barboza that would prove the more accurate striker, especially in the opening frame.
While Green stalked him, Barboza landed flurries of punches, and more significantly, brutal leg kicks that chopped away at Green’s lead leg.
Despite Barboza’s mounting offense, however, Green continued to plod forward, constantly shaking off the attacks, giving the impression that they weren’t being effective.
Barboza buckled Green’s leg in the opening moments of round two, and again Green shook it off. Barboza then landed an overhand right followed by a spinning hook kick and Green was no longer shaking it off. He was staggering across the Octagon, trying to keep his wits about him.
He somehow managed to keep his footing and recover, while Barboza continued to chop away at his lead leg.
As Green recovered, he started to land more frequently with his boxing combinations, while Barboza continued to kick, albeit at a pace that was drastically fading as the fight wore on.
By the closing minutes of the fight, Barboza was starting to backpedal, as Green continued to move forward and land more frequently.
It was too little, too late in the judges’ eyes, whom all saw the fight in Barboza’s favor, giving him 30-27 scores on all three cards.
Though he faded late, it was a solid effort by Barboza, who has now won back-to-back fights, after a loss to Donald Cerrone earlier this year ended a three-fight winning streak.
“Believe me guys, you not see the best Edson yet,” he said after the fight, “but it’s coming soon.”
For Green, the loss ends an eight-fight victorious streak. Earlier in the week, Green mentioned on Facebook that, win or lose, he was considering retirement. Whether or not that was still under consideration was not known immediately following the fight.