Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last night (Sat., April 21, 2018) for UFC Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which was headlined by a barn-burner of a lightweight showdown that saw Kevin Lee absolutely dominate Edson Barboza for nearly five round before the action was stopped in the final frame (recap).
Also, Frankie Edgar handed Cub Swanson his second straight defeat after outscoring him on the judges scorecards after three rounds of action.
Biggest Winner: Kevin Lee
Lee proclaimed he would beat Barboza in all facets of the fight game and beat on the Brazilian bomber worse that what Khabib Nurmagomedov did, and he accomplished both feats. Indeed, from the opening bell Lee took it to Edson, taking him down at will and absolutely crushed him with ground and pound action. When on the feet, Lee didn’t shy away from striking with the best in the division, and though he ate a few good shots, even almost getting finished with a spinning wheel kick, Kevin shook them all off and went back to work. At the end of every round, Barboza looked like a shell of a man, beaten to a pulp, ultimately getting both of eyes nearly shut. And though he seemed to be catching his second wind in the final round, it seemed the ringside doctor made the right choice to put an end to the beating. Now, Lee will set his sights on a bigger fight next, though it won’t be “Khabib time,” as two — maybe three —men are ahead of him at the moment. Still, he firmly looked like a legit contender in the division.
Runner Up: Dan Hooker
Hooker is slowly starting to make a name for himself in the Lightweight division, as he has now won three in a row, including his devastating first round knockout of longtime Octagon veteran, Jim Miller (see it again here). After four years of fighting inside the eight-walled cage, it seems Hooker is ready to take the leap into the big fights, and he wasted no time in calling out Paul Felder to his face during his post-fight victory speech. I really like what Hooker is doing, going in and taking care of business and looking for the next big fight. He’s taken out two longtime veterans and a rising prospect in back-to-back-to-back fights. I expect bigger things from him moving forward.
Honorable mention: Frankie Edgar
50 days after suffering the first stoppage loss of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, Edgar made a quick turnaround and scored his second win over Cub Swanson after 15 minutes of action. To stack the cards a bit more against Frankie, it was revealed he lost his father and his grandfather all in a span of week’s time. Indeed, “The Answer” powered through all of his persona adversity and picked up a big win in front of his hometown crowd. Whether or not he gets yet another shot at the title, remains to be seen. For now, it might be best for Frankie to spend some time with his family, mourn the loss of his loved ones and see how the division plays itself out in the next few months.
Biggest Loser: Edson Barboza
You never would’ve imagined Edson would suffer another major beating shut four months after getting worked by Khabib Nurmagomedov. But that’s just what happened after Kevin Lee took it to him for nearly 25 minutes. Sure, Edson has a few bright spots, but Lee had his way with him, and then some. The two bloody and brutal defeats can definitely take a toll on Edson’s body and his mind. How he bounces back from his last loss is tough to call, but one thing is certain, he needs to brush up on his wrestling and takedown defense, because you better believe his next opponent has a very clear blueprint on front of him.
For complete Fight Night 128 results, including play-by-play, click here