The UFC 134 Rio: Silva vs. Okami card is a good one and the fight I’m about to preview could definitely get the fight of the night award as both guy’s really bring it when they fight. Rising lightweight Edson Barboza will be looking for his third win in the UFC against TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson as they’ll do battle this weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Let’s break this one down:
Edson Barboza comes into this fight with an undefeated record of (8-0) with 6 wins via TKO/KO and one win via submission. He’s fresh off a razor thin win over notable striker Anthony Njokuani back at UFC 128. Barboza is a highly accomplished muay thai practioner and has ended several of his fights on leg kicks alone. Barboza is generally pretty aggressive with his bout with Njokuani being the onlyone that has gone to the judges.
Ross Pearson comes into this fight with a overall record of (12-4) with 4 wins via submission and 3 wins via TKO/KO. Pearson was last seen in action besting Spencer Fisher via decision at UFC 127 earlier this year. Pearson is fairly well rounded in that he can strike, grind out decisions, and is versed in submission.
Bet on Fighting has Barboza is the betting favorite going into this bout at (-300) and Pearson the underdog at (+240).
I have to agree that Barboza is the favorite in this fight. I’m not sure I’d have him as that big of a favorite, but that’s neither here nor there. I think the x-factors in this fight are the speed and length of Barboza. He’s much quicker than Pearson and will have a sizable reach advantage in this one. Pearson will need to close the distance and put Barboza against the cage to try and nullify those devastating leg kicks. It would also allow him to work some dirty boxing and simply wear the Brazilian down while taking some steam out of his strikes. Barboza has very good takedown defense as well, so Pearson may be forced to stand the entire time. Pearson has performed well against strikers like Fisher and Dennis Siver, but Barboza is probably a notch or two higher in regards to those guys on just sheer speed alone.
I think Barboza will use those leg kicks to punish Pearson from the outside. If Pearson is able to catch a kick and take him down I’m not sure he’ll be able to keep him there which makes this fight very dangerous for him. If Barboza is able to land early and often with those leg kicks, that’ll simply make Pearson a stationary target to get finished in the later rounds. However, Pearson is tough and gritty only being finished via TKO once early in his career. It’s possible that Pearson could crowd Barboza and try to bully him againt the cage, but ultimately I think Barboza finishes him in round two or wins a decision.