A featherweight pairing between former lightweight mainstay, Edson ‘Junior’ Barboza, and talented grappler, Makwan ‘Mr. Finland’ Amirkhani has been added to a UFC Fight Island event on October 10th. from the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Originally targeted to clash with knockout artist, Jeremy Stephens, Barboza was then paired with division prospect, ‘Super’ Sodiq Yusuff, until that clash was shelved due to passport issues preventing Yusuff’s travel to Yas Island. In the latter’s place – steps 31-year-old grappler, Amirkhani.
Hoping to score his first victory at 145-pounds since his drop to the division in May – Nova Friburgo native, Barboza suffered a close split decision defeat to ‘Dynamite’ Dan Ige at UFC Fight Night Jacksonville, marking his third consecutive blemish.
Recently returning to the winner’s enclosure, Amirkhani took home an eye-catching first-round anaconda finish over Danny Henry at UFC 251 also on ‘Fight Island’ in July. News of the reworked pairing was initially reported by Combate’s, Raphael Marinho.
Muay Thai ace, Barboza looks to finally return to winning ways following a string of two close decision losses to two-time foe, Paul ‘The Irish Dragon’ Felder in September of last year in Abu Dhabi, and the aforenoted, Ige.
In eye-catching Octagon wins, the Brazilian has scored victories over Dan Hooker, Beneil Dariush, Evan Dunham, Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, the above mentioned, Felder, Ross Pearson, Anthony Njokuani, and most famously, a wheel-kick win over Terry Etim.
With eleven separate submission victories, Amirkhani brings a dangerous grappling base to this classic striker versus grappler pairing. Prior to his win over Henry earlier this summer, Amirkhani dropped a third-round knockout loss to division contender, ‘Hurricane’ Shane Burgos at UFC 244 last November.
In other wins under the UFC’s banner, the 31-year-old has bested the likes of Chris Fishgold, Andy Ogle, Jason Knight, and Mike Wilkinson.