Donald Cerrone and Edson Barboza will collide on the main card of tonight’s UFC on Fox 11, and the bout is my pick for ‘Fight of the Night’. The two lightweights are known for their brutal stand up skills, and I think matchmakers have done a great job here. The Brazilian ‘Junior’ and ‘Cowboy’ are both very dangerous strikers, and there is a lot on the line for them tonight.
Barboza is ranked at #11 as a lightweight, and a win over Cerrone (#8) could well set him on the path to a title shot. The former WEC 155-pound boss still holds a lot of clout, and has been on fire recently. ‘Junior’ stopped by to talk with MMAFighting.com recently, check out what he had to say about his fellow lightweights:
"It’s a division full of great and tough fighters, and I’m one of them," he said. "I’m going for it. Nobody was able to keep the title for too long, it’s not like we have a reigning champion for a long time, so it proves how close this division is. Whenever the UFC think it’s my time to fight for the title, I will be ready,"
The lightweight title has been passed around more than any other in recent years, and Barboza finds himself in a great position as the (slightly) lower-ranked fighter at UFC on Fox 11. A win would set ‘Junior’ on a four fight winning streak, and make him 9-1 overall for the promotion.
"I don’t know if he will try to take me down," Barboza said. "I don’t think he will, but if he does and I think that there’s where I can finish the fight, I’ll fight him on the ground. I train wrestling with New Jersey’s best at Elite Wrestling. I’m working a lot my wrestling, and not only my defensive wrestling. I fell in love with it and I don’t want just to use it to defend takedowns, I want to use to attack and score points. I’m a mixed martial artist, not a muay thai fighter."
Barboza’s spinning wheel kick against Terry Etim was a thing of beauty, and was only overshadowed by the epic derp face-plank that Etim performed as a result. ‘Junior’ has bags of talent, but is it enough to get past a grizzled warrior like Cerrone?
‘Cowboy’ has looked a new fighter since losing to Rafael dos Anjos in 2013; finishing Adriano Martins and Evan Dunham in the time since, but he may be looking at his last chance of a title run tonight. Maybe that will bring out the best in Cerrone, anything less could cost him dearly against Barboza.
Photo credit-Jayne Kamin Oncea USA Today Sports