Forget the fact that Anthony Pettis was the UFC’s lightweight champ. Instead, focus on the fact that he and Edson Barboza are two are ridiculously talented strikers with insane creativity. That’s what this fight is all about.
Like his younger brother, Pettis is in constant motion, flitting about and throwing strikes and disappearing before Barboza can find him. At first, it seems is if the Brazilian is tentative and wary of committing. But then he lands a left hook to Pettis’ face and that slows things down to a manageable speed. Twice more that left lands, and in the final minute Pettis goes for a takedown. Barboza shrugs him off, and soon the bell sounds.
Barboza’s left hook remains his money shot in the seconds, and to combat Pettis’ perpetual motion, he starts working the body with punches and kicks. Pettis scores a bit more though, no doubt aided by Barboza getting tired and slowing down, and the round ends with him trying some sort of front flip kick that misses by a mile.
The third round has Barboza timing his jab well, knocking Pettis’ head back when he comes in to throw a strike. Also thrown into the mix are an inside leg-kick that lands over and over, and suddenly the former champ is damned if he comes within punching range and damned if he stays in kicking range. Time runs out Pettis leaping into the air and throwing a kick in desperation.
Result: Edson Barboza def. Anthony Pettis via Unanimous Decision