Former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis, currently ranked #3 in the division, took on #8-ranked Edson Barboza tonight at UFC 197.
The two men circle, looking for an opening, feeling out the distance. A few light exchanges follow, but neither man is doing much damage yet.
Barboza lands a hard inside leg kick, but so far, neither man seems to want to commit to these exchanges. Barboza lands a hard left hook, following it up a few moments later with yet another big swing that finds its mark.
Two minutes remain in the round. Barboza tags Pettis with a hard body punch, and seems to be the more accurate of the two so far.
Pettis swings and misses with a big head kick. Barboza follows with a hard body kick, and a failed takedown attempt. Both of them are very aware of the kicking power of each other. Pettis goes high again with a spinning hook kick, but the distance is off.
He tries again to close the round, jumping this time, but just can't seem to find the range.
Pettis opens the round with a jumping switch kick that is blocked. Barboza meanwhile is going to the legs now with a few low kicks.
Barboza is finding a lot of opportunities to land a left hook, and the damage seems to be mounting. Pettis misses badly with a wild punch, and nearly gives up his back as he spins away.
Pettis attempts a flying knee, but it too misses. He's opening up now, looking a lot looser, but can't seem to land with these big strikes. Barboza too misses a spinning kick to the body. Pettis and Barboza clearly trained for each other's kicking power.
Pettis finds a nice combination, this round is too close to call just yet though.
A minute thirty remains in the round, as Barboza and Pettis tag each other with punching combinations. Barboza's left hook in particular seems to be his weapon of choice, and he's making some big power swings.
A very hard roundhouse to the body from Barboza as the round draws to an end... and then a HUGE flip kick attempt from Pettis closes it out. He doesn't come anywhere near to landing, but man was that cool.
It's the third and final round. Pettis is likely two rounds behind right now.
Pettis opens the round with a spinning side kick that glances off of Barboza. Barboza meanwhile is finding some opportunities to land leg kicks
Pettis misses a big shot and slips, but recovers before Barboza can capitalize.
Barboza lands another leg kick that nearly takes Pettis's legs out from under him. Barboza right now has double the significant strikes so far, and is definitely ahead on the judge's scorecards.
Barboza's inside leg kick goes a bit off target, and hits Pettis in the groin. Pettis doesn't take long to recover though, and it's back on.
Barboza is going crazy with leg and body kicks now, his leg speed is ridiculous. Pettis is clearly frustrated, and cannot seem to find his range. His leg is black and blue from the constant barrage.
Two minutes remain in the final round, and Barboza is way ahead now on points.
Pettis goes high with a kick but it's blocked. Blood is coming out of a cut near his left eye.
One minutes remains now, and Pettis can't seem to set anything he wants up. Barboza might be playing out the clock at this point.
Pettis tags Barboza with a few punches, but Barboza is unfazed. Pettis is throwing wild with kicks and knees, looking for anything he can. Nothing lands though.
Time expires, and this looks like a clear unanimous decision for Barboza, and a big win for him in the lightweight division.
Result: Edson Barboza def. Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision.