ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The book on Edson Barboza is to stay away from his kicks. Evan Dunham was inches away from evading one of them and it wasn’t enough.
Barboza landed a hard, right roundhouse kick that grazed Dunham’s chest in the first round and Dunham crumbled. Barboza quickly pounced, landing right hands and referee Keith Peterson pulled him off at 3:06 to give the Brazilian striker an impressive TKO victory.
At first, it appeared the kick landed to Dunham’s liver, but it did not. Barboza’s toes grazed Dunham’s rib and the velocity was hard enough to do damage. Barboza has won three fights in the UFC by TKO due to leg kicks. Now, he has a finish with a kick to the body.
Afterward, Barboza told Jon Anik that he wants an opponent in the top-10 or top-five next. He came in ranked No. 13 among contenders in the UFC’s lightweight division. Barboza (14-2), who now lives and trains here in New Jersey, was coming off a loss to Donald Cerrone in April. The 28-year-old was actually beating Cerrone in that fight before getting caught with a punch and being choked out.
Dunham (14-6) has now lost three straight and is in danger of losing his job with the UFC. At one point, he was a pretty solid prospect in the 155-pound division. Now, at age 32, he’s little more than a journeyman who has been the victim of some suspect judges’ decisions in the past.
This one, though, wasn’t one of them. Barboza connected with a vicious kick and Dunham never even had a chance to execute his game plan.