Taking the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 45: Cerrone vs Miller from Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 16, 2014 is a lightweight contest pitting Brazilian muay thai specialist Edson Barboza and Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt Evan Dunham opposite one another. Both men are looking to rebound from submission losses to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in their last outing.
Barboza, known for his wicked spin kick KO of Terry Etim (watch it here), was owning Cerrone in the standup before getting caught off guard with a clean jab then got his back taken and choked out. He feels that loss was due to Cowboy’s good luck, though, and there’s probably less of a chance he gets caught in a quick submission against Dunham. One thing to point out in all of Dunham’s fights is that he’s very hittable and you never really see him change up his approach or improve a whole lot between fights.
Even though both guys were finished in their last fight, I don’t see this one ending inside the distance either way it goes. Barboza has a strong thai stance and never really engages in the grappling. His takedown defense is very good, but he does tend to keep his hands a little low at times. Dunham does have the accuracy to make him pay for that, however his power just isn’t gonna be at the end of those shots, which should make it tough on him if he plans on taking anything away from his opponent’s attack on fight night. The Brazilian will most likely lure him in early and use leg kicks and counter strikes to pick him apart round by round. If Dunham is willing to exchange this time, then expect to see him a bloody mess before the fifteen minutes is up.
Dunham does like to lead the dance, but that could get him into trouble with Barboza. I’m picturing his fights with TJ Grant and Rafael dos Anjos in my head, which were very close fights, but it was Dunham’s willingness to brawl that lost him those decisions. Barboza’s high volume kicking game can definitely be negated if he’s being pushed back like in the fights with Ross Pearson and Danny Castillo. The only issue here in this matchup is that Dunham is mostly just a wrestle/boxer and Barboza is a speedy striker with a lot of power behind both his punches and kicks.
I suppose Dunham’s cardio and ability to take shots will shine through and carry him to a lopsided decision loss. He might sneak in a takedown or two, but this will be all Barboza until the final horn.
Prediction- Barboza by Decision