Edson Barboza is known for some of the nastiest kicks in mixed martial arts, but he's dropped four of his last five fights ahead of Saturday's date with Dan Ige.
The fighter with what has to be the shortest name in MMA history, Dan Ige, is also going to have a significant height disadvantage Saturday in his featherweight bout against Edson Barboza at UFC Fight Night 172 from Jacksonville, Fla.
Ige is ranked 15th in the division and Barboza 11th – as a lightweight, which is the next weight class up. He is a -135 favourite on the UFC odds board for this fight with Ige at +105.
The 34-year-old Barboza (20-8), a former kickboxer, began his MMA pro career in 2009 and made his UFC debut in November 2010 with a third-round KO (leg kicks) of Mike Lullo. Barboza has fought his entire career at lightweight and hasn’t gotten a title shot.
He lost for the fourth time in five fights – perhaps why he is moving down – last time in the Octagon in September 2019, a controversial split decision defeat to Paul Felder. In that stretch, he also has losses to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (by unanimous decision) and interim lightweight king Justin Gaethje (first-round KO).
Barboza is known for his kicking game and UFC commentator Joe Rogan has previously said that Barboza is “probably the best kicker in MMA.” Barboza had the first wheel kick knockout in UFC history, coming at UFC 142 vs. Terry Etim.
Barboza wins 60 per cent of the time by KO/TKO but just once in his career by submission. He has three losses each by KO/TKO and decision and two by submission. Barboza averages 4.01 significant strikes per minute but just 0.49 takedowns per 15.
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This writer can’t prove that Ige has the shortest combined first and last name in MMA history, but couldn’t find anyone else with just six combined letters. The 28-year-old from Hawaii is 13-2 in his MMA career, which began in June 2014.
“Dynamite” debuted in the UFC in January 2018 and lost via unanimous decision to Julio Arce but has won five in a row since. Ige fought in February and took a split decision win over Mirsad Bektic. Two judges scored is 29-28 for Ige and one the same score for Bektic.
Ige has won five times each by decision and submission and three by KO/TKO. Both losses are via decision. Ige lands 3.89 significant strikes per minute and averages 2.38 takedowns per 15.
UFC Fight Night 172 Predictions: Barboza vs. Ige
Because Barboza is naturally a lightweight, he’s got four inches of height (5-foot-11 to 5-7) and four inches of reach on Ige. Plus, Barboza has faced some of the best fighters in the world and Ige hasn’t. Barboza wins by decision.