A featherweight banger is on the line. One of the UFC’s hottest prospects, the German-born Georgian mixed martial artist, Ilia Topuria is set to fight seasoned veteran Edson Barboza on October 29.
The location of the event hasn"t been announced yet. Eurosport journalist Laura Fernandez was the first one to break the news of the fight on her podcast in Spanish.
UFC has been one of the best promotions not only in featuring the best fighters on the planet but also in taking a classical approach of making the upcoming prospect of the division fight a seasoned veteran. Not only do such fights make sense, on most occasions fights like this have been a tough test for several upcoming young contenders who finds themselves in the midst of a stacked division
At present Topuria is ranked 15th in the division while Barboza is ranked 13th, however, their career graph has been quite different. “El Matador" being the young phenom, might be coming into this bout as a heavy favourite and he somehow deserves it for an unblemished record of 12-0 with 4 victories coming inside the UFC octagon, with 3 of them being spectacular finishes. His last fight was at Lightweight in the UFC London card in March this year, where he finished Jai Herbert via devastating knockout.
Edson Barboza has been a company stalwart since 2010. A pioneer of spectacular finishes across both lightweight & featherweight divisions, Barboza has been a highlight machine in MMA. Be it the spinning wheel kick knockout of Terry Etim, to the brutal one-sided beatdown of Dan Hooker, or the flying knee finish against Beneil Dariush, Barboza has shared the octagon canvass with some of the best in the sport and has never failed to paint the canvass in blood with his fair share of flashy technical Muay Thai style kicking and devastating hands. The resume of this Nova Friburgo striker includes the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone, Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Gilbert Melendez, and many other seasoned veterans and top contenders, with whom the high-spirited Barboza has shared the UFC cage.
At 36, Barboza hasn"t been having that much of a great career of late with back-to-back one-sided losses against Giga Chikadze and Bryce Mitchell. He has a current record of two wins and three losses after dropping down to the 145 lb division.
What"s at stake and how the fight might play out
Topuria will get the massive spotlight of facing a super recognizable veteran inside the promotion. Although he has beaten some quality competition in Damon Jackson & the Jiu-Jitsu wizard Ryan Hall, Topuria"s experience falls flat as compared to the Brazilian who has been in UFC for the last 12 years.
The Georgian is undoubtedly more than capable of handling Barboza on the feet, as he has shown some crisp boxing and knockout power with his hands, but can go for a different game plan considering his grappling pedigree. Barboza on the other hand would like to throw kicks to the leg & body followed by his hands, as he has showcased in all of his UFC fights and would likely keep the fight on his feet.
The entire card is yet to be announced but fight fans have all been super excited since the announcement of this matchup because of the possibilities of it being a barn burner.
Who do you think wins? Will Topuria be a bit too match for the aging veteran? Or will Barboza show that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the featherweight division?
Let us know in the comment section. For more such news follow @yudhajitsaha at OvertimeHeroics MMA.
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