In one of the best and most entertaining fights of the year on Friday at the TUF 22 Finale, Tony Ferguson staked a claim for a title shot in the UFC’s lightweight division with a second round submission over Edson Barboza.
The fight started off with a furious pace, with Ferguson pressing forward and landing strikes while Barboza tried to counter from the outside. Ferguson then cartwheeled in to roll for a kneebar attempt, and they traded punches on the ground in an awkward position as Ferguson tried to get the leg loose for the hold. In the one low point of the fight, Ferguson broke with a kick to the head while both were on the ground and had a point taken away.
After the reset, Barboza actually began to take over in some of the striking exchanges, and he finished the round strong with some legitimate damage to Ferguson. Then in the third round, the brutality continued, as both cut each other open badly with elbows in close. Ferguson seemed to be getting the better of some exchanges, and it forced Barboza to try to change things up with a shot.
That move proved to be his undoing, as Ferguson sprawled, manhandled him in the process, and locked up a slick D’Arce choke in an excellent transition. Barboza attempted to get free, but the hold was locked on tight, and Barboza was forced to tap.
With the win, Ferguson has now won seven straight, and sits at 10-1 overall in the UFC. Barboza drops to 3-3 over his last six fights.
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]