UFC lightweight Edson Barboza put on quite the show at UFC 162, earning a technical-knockout stoppage after less than two rounds of action. And he did it all with leg kicks.
Rafaello Oliveira, Barboza's opponent/victim, took brutal shot after brutal shot to his left leg, and, by the second round, he was struggling to stand. A few more leg kicks and the fight was over.
That's another technical-knockout win for Barboza, who has won thanks to his vicious leg kicks before. It wasn't a highlight-reel knockout like his spinning wheel kick against Terry Etim was, but it was impressive nevertheless.
Here is what we learned:
What We Learned about Edson Barboza
Barboza was stunned by Jamie Varner at UFC 146, losing for the first time in his UFC career. Other than that loss, he is undefeated as a professional. And his striking prowess is why.
But we already knew that.
At UFC 162, Barboza didn't show us anything new—his striking was as good as it's ever been. He did, however, prove that he is going to be a problem in the lightweight division and is ready for the next step.
That step involves fighting a Top-10 guy.
The Brazilian is a frightening striker who could challenge just about anyone at 155 pounds if that person can't get the fight to the ground. He's probably not a Top-10 fighter just yet, but he could get there by the end of 2013.
After all, victories as dominant as this one allow for a reasonably quick return to the cage.
What We Learned about Rafaello Oliveira
The 31-year-old Oliveira is now 1-3 in his second stint in the UFC, meaning he is on the way out.
Against Barboza, we learned that he can't, and probably never will, compete in the UFC. He has struggled against unranked fighters, and his two wins came against guys no longer with the promotion.
And this is his second go-around under the Zuffa banner—he's 2-5 with the promotion overall. We've probably seen the last of him at this level.
What's Next for Edson Barboza
Barboza's striking is as good as anyone's in the lightweight division, and at 6-1 in the UFC, he deserves to face a Top-10 fighter next.
A possibility is a fight against fellow kickboxer Donald Cerrone—ranked No. 6—but "Cowboy" is expected to meet No. 10 Rafael dos Anjos this August. The winner of that fight would be a good opponent for Barboza.
If the UFC goes in a different direction with the winner of that match, Nate Diaz would be a fine option.
What's Next For Oliveira
Oliveira is 0-of-2 as far as successful runs in the UFC go. He most likely will find himself off the UFC roster as soon as the next cuts come around.
The Brazilian will have to pick up a couple of wins in smaller promotions if he wants a third shot in the elite promotion.
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