LEE vs BARBOZA
n his first bout since losing a challenge for the interim lightweight title against Tony Ferguson in October, Kevin Lee looked Motown phenomenal against Edson Barboza, surviving a third-round head kick to dominate his opponent and stop him in the fifth round of their UFC Fight Night main event at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Starting in the southpaw stance, Lee fired off several jabs and kicks before putting Barboza on his back in the opening minute of the fight. Lee stayed busy on the mat, landing strikes as he looked to improve position. Midway through the round, Lee got into the mount and scored with several hard punches and elbows, with Barboza having no answers for him.
In the second, Lee picked up where he left off in the previous round, his sharp striking on the already-winded Barboza leading to a slam a minute in. The ground dominance then continued for the next four minutes, with Barboza unable to get to his feet or mount any kind of offense.
Barboza began the third round throwing body kicks, but Lee walked right through them. He didn’t get by the spinning head kick that landed a minute in that had Lee wobbling on unsteady legs. But Lee did have the presence of mind to look for a takedown, and he got it. This time, Barboza got up fairly quickly and the two traded down the stretch, but by the end of the round, Lee had Barboza in trouble once more.
Fired up by his success in the third, Barboza landed hard shots on Lee early in round four, but Lee took them well and scored the takedown. The crowd wasn’t happy, but Lee stayed busy as he kept Barboza grounded and punished him until the end of the round.
Already battered and bruised, Barboza was bloodied by Lee as round five began, but the gutsy Brazilian kept fighting, trying to land a shot like the one he did in the third. But it was not to be, and after referee Keith Peterson halted the bout to replace his mouthpiece, the Octagonside physician stepped in and halted the fight. The official time of the stoppage was 2:18 of the fifth round.
With the win, the No. 6-ranked Lee - who came in overweight for the bout at 157 pounds -improves to 17-3. The No. 5-ranked Barboza falls to 19-6.