Lee vs Barboza

UFC Fight Night 128 Preview: Kevin Lee vs. Edson Barboza

This weekend’s UFC Fight Night 128 Main Event is a lightweight matchup between top ten lightweights Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza. Both fighters are coming off losses, so a win is crucial for both of them in order to remain relevant in the top level of what has become a super competitive 155 pound division.

Lee vs. Barboza is the headline act on the UFC 128 card. Other bouts taking place prior to the main event are: Aljamain Sterling vs. Brett Johns and Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson.

Kevin Lee UFC Form and Fight Record

Res.

Opponent

Method

Event

Date

Loss Tony Ferguson Submission (triangle choke) UFC 216 October 7, 2017
Win Michael Chiesa Technical Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs. Lee June 25, 2017
Win Francisco Trinaldo Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum March 11, 2017
Win Magomed Mustafaev Technical Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Hall 2 November 19, 2016
Win Jake Matthews TKO (punches) The Ultimate Fighter: Team Joanna vs. Team Cláudia Finale July 8, 2016

Lee’s major key to victory in this fight is to constantly pressure Barboza and keep him on the back foot. Barboza has shown a major inability to handle forward pressure from his opponents, which has particularly been displayed in his losses to Jamie Varner, Michael Johnson, as well as in his last fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

 

Edson Barboza UFC Form and Fight Record

Res.

Opponent

Method

Event

Date

Loss Khabib Nurmagomedov Decision (unanimous) UFC 219 December 30, 2017
Win Beneil Dariush KO (flying knee) UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum March 11, 2017
Win Gilbert Melendez Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Holm vs. Shevchenko July 23, 2016
Win Anthony Pettis Decision (unanimous) UFC 197 April 23, 2016
Loss Tony Ferguson Submission (D’Arce choke) The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber Finale December 11, 2015

By constantly moving forward, Lee will almost completely shut down Barboza’s offence – which heavily relies on range – and create more opportunities to take the fight to the ground.

Barboza, on the other hand, needs to be aggressive from the get go, and earn Lee’s respect by marking him with the vicious leg kicks and accurate punches for which he is best known.

By scoring with solid strikes early in the fight, Lee is more likely to be hesitant to move forward, thereby allowing Barboza to pick shots from the outside and wear him down as the fight goes on.

 

Kevin Lee vs. Edson Barboza Prediction

Both fighters’ upsides play into each other’s’ hands very well, which makes this fight hard to predict. However, Lee does not tend to apply that forward pressure like Johnson or Khabib, and Barboza could very well wear Lee down and edge the win over five rounds.

Don’t underestimate the pent up aggression of Motown Phenom may be riding with after losing out last time to arch rival Tony Ferguson. Lee is hungry for another shot as the big guys and if he dominates with stand-up, he’s equally in the frame for a points win.

Final prediction: unanimous decision to Lee.

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