Brazilian native Edson ‘Junior’ Barboza, the #11 ranked lightweight entered the octagon as a 145 pounder for the first time versus the always entertaining Hawaiian fighter Dan ’50k’ Ige. The #15 ranked featherweight started things off right away with a couple of heavy-handed hooks that were defended by Barboza. With the first significant body shot being delivered to Ige via a knee in the middle of the octagon, followed up with two missed teep kicks; it was clear Barboza was looking to capitalize on his four-inch reach advantage.
Having successfully defended the forward pressure of Barboza; the Hawaiian fighter continued to throw punches. Ige made contact with a couple of shots while throwing combinations at his opponent. Barboza then engaged with Ige landing with a solid right hook that noticeably sent Ige backward. The Brazilian fighter followed up with another right hook; this time putting Ige on his back.
Barboza continued to land some solid shots while in the full guard of Dan Ige. Many hammer fists were exchanged by both fighters until Ige utilized his butterfly guard to push Barboza away from him and get back to his feet. The round continued with a few good exchanges, both fighters landing loud body shots and throwing combos with ill intent. Ige landed a damaging flying knee that put Barboza on his back foot. Barboza pushed forward and continued throwing combos that included a left hook landing clean. That created a sizeable cut under the right eye of Ige which saw no attention from the cutman between rounds.
The second round began and Ige came at Barboza with incredible speed and power. One of Ige’s wicked right hooks seemed to bloody up the face of Barboza who was now leaking from his nose. The two men then engaged in a battle against the cage as Ige pressed his weight against Barboza with a single under hook secured. This left Ige susceptible to the Muay Thai clinch of Barboza which he sank in and landed a nasty knee. Ige answered that knee with two incredibly powerful hooks to the body. Both fighters separated and Ige began to push the pace.
After eight minutes of fighting Ige had already thrown over one hundred strikes. His output was not being matched by Barboza who was breathing much heavier than the Hawaiian fighter. After a takedown attempt was stuffed by Barboza he tried to lock in an anaconda choke but quickly released and let Ige back to his feet. Ige was again stuffed when he made a takedown attempt towards the end of the round. Barboza threw some punches with almost all of them defended before being separated by referee Jason Herzog at the end of round two.
Ige continued to push the pace in the final round appearing to be the fresher fighter of the two. As the fight continued both men landed one-two combos along with a few solid leg kicks. Barboza took control of the octagon pressing Ige against the cage while throwing incredible knees from the Muay Thai clinch. The two fighters split and Barboza hit Ige with a vicious body shot that seemed to do some damage. Looking to avoid another hook to the body, Ige attempted his third takedown which was again stuffed by Barboza. Immediately back on his feet, Ige began pressing forward landing some heavy hooks to the head and body of Barboza.
On his fourth takedown attempt Ige put his opponent on the canvas where he managed to land quite a few shots in the guard of Barboza. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills of Barboza were not enough to regain control of Ige as he switched between full guard and butterfly guard attempting to gain a better position. As the final seconds ticked down, Ige remained in a dominant ground position on top of the bloodied Barboza. The judges were not in agreeance on who won the fight with a split decision going in favor of Dan Ige.
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Dan Ige Defeats Edson Barboza by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)