Kevin Lee showed why he’s a rising star in the UFC lightweight division by absolutely dominating the very dangerous Edson Barboza at UFC Fight Night: Atlantic City. Barboza was simply unable to handle Lee’s wrestling, which Lee used to set up some mean ground and pound. The majority of the fight saw Lee pinning Barboza to the canvas and unleashing with strikes, but it was an exchange on the feet in round 5 that cut Barboza’s eyelid, prompting a doctor’s stoppage with just over two minutes left.
The first round saw Kevin Lee come out aggressive with punches and kicks before powering Barboza into the cage and taking him down. From there he tried to recreate what Khabib Nurmagomedov did against Barboza with some heavy ground and pound, taking the mount repeatedly and raining down strikes. While Barboza survived, it would be hard to imagine anything other than a 10-8 round for Lee.
Round two was more of the same, but this time with less energy on Barboza’s side. By the end of the round Lee was once again sliding into mount and attacking with endless hammerfists and chokes. A flurry of elbows to Barboza’s head in the final minute of the round had the referee seriously considering a stoppage, and again it’s hard to imagine a scorecard that wouldn’t be 10-8.
Barboza came within an inch of victory in round three when Kevin Lee foolishly tried to hang on the feet with him and ate a spinning head kick that had him on wobbly legs like a newborn deer. But Barboza was exhausted and unable to capitalize as Lee shot in for a takedown and managed to recover as they grappled on the mat.