Highly skilled Brazilian lightweight Edson Barbosa has been granted his wish by UFC matchmakers for a major step up in competition. The No. 11 ranked Barboza will get his most serious test yet when he battles Donald Cerrone at UFC on FOX 11 on Apr. 19. Barboza is riding a three-fight win streak and is fresh off a thrilling majority decision victory over Danny Castillo. The spirited scrap at UFC on FOX 9 in which Barboza was nearly stopped in the first-round delivered a Fight of the Night Bonus. Barboza showed plenty of grit and determination to survive some rocky moments and turn the tide in that affair.
Cerrone was one of the names Barboza had mentioned as a possible opponent moving forward, and “Cowboy” is definitely riding high after his tremendous effort at UFC on FOX 10. Cerrone employed a devastating head kick in the opening round of his fight against relative newcomer Adriano Martins to capture a Knockout of the Night bonus. It was the second straight dominant effort from Cerrone when you factor in his second-round submission victory over Evan Dunham at UFC 167 and has him ranked No. 8 by the promotion.
Barboza has produced seven victories in eight Octagon appearances, and his spinning wheel kick finish of Terry Etim remains one of the more spectacular knockouts in UFC history. His only career loss in fourteen fights came against Jamie Varner when he was shockingly TKO’d in the very first round at UFC 146. Now is the time for the promotion to find out whether he is a legitimate title threat, and a test against the surging Cerrone will do that one way or the other.
Cerrone has been granted his desire to stay busy in the Octagon this year as he mentioned the hopes of making a whopping six appearances. He’s determined to go on a major run to secure an eventual title shot, and another impressive performance against Barboza will have him knocking on the door. His kickboxing style and pedigree of being involved in highly entertaining battles should be a perfect mix with Barboza’s explosiveness.
This is truly one of the more exciting clashes that can be made in the lightweight ranks. Both Barboza and Cerrone have a reputation for finishing fights and securing Fight Night bonuses. Fans are definitely in for a treat with this bout becoming a reality in Orlando.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports