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411’s MMA Roundtable Preview – UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee

April 21, 2018 | Posted by Dan Plunkett
UFC Fight Night 128 Ricky Simon

UFC heads to Atlantic City for a battle of top lightweights! In the main event, Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza look to rebound from losses and get back in the title picture! In the co-main event, Frankie Edgar returns seven weeks after a knockout loss to Brian Ortega for a rematch against Cub Swanson. At heavyweight, Justin Willis takes on Chase Sherman. Before that, middleweights collide as David Branch faces Thiago Santos. Plus, Aljamain Sterlin squares off with Brett Johns, Jim Miller vs. Dan Hooker, and more!


  • He’s 411’s Jack of All Trades, Jeffrey Harris!

  • He’ll lock you in the guillotine, Robert Winfree!

    Preliminary Card
    UFC Fight Pass
    Welterweight Bout: Tony Martin vs. Keita Nakamura

    Fox Sports 1
    Light Heavyweight Bout: Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins
    Welterweight Bout: Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Luan Chagas
    Bantamweight Bout: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Ricky Simon
    Welterweight Bout: Ryan LaFlare vs. Alex Garcia

    Lightweight Bout: Jim Miller vs. Dan Hooker

    Jeffrey Harris: Dan Hooker, TKO, Round 2
    Robert Winfree: Dan Hooker, TKO, Round 2

    Bantamweight Bout: Aljamain Sterling vs. Brett Johns

    Jeffrey Harris: Aljamain Sterling, Decision
    Robert Winfree: Brett Johns, Decision

    Middleweight Bout: David Branch vs. Thiago Santos

    Jeffrey Harris: Thiago Santos has been doing well lately, and he’s definitely earned this fight against a Top 10 opponent against the No. 8-ranked David Branch. Branch just hasn’t been impressive at all since returning to the UFC. Thiago Santos is very underrated and under-appreciated. Not to mention, he has eight knockout wins inside the Octagon. He’s 9-4 overall. Thiago Santos is a very dangerous striker with knockout power, and he’s going to stop David Branch quickly.

    Winner: Thiago Santos, TKO, Round 2

    Robert Winfree: Decent enough middleweight fight here. Branch is a good fighter but he struggles a bit if he can’t out wrestle you and I have a hard time seeing him consistently out wrestle Santos without getting clobbered at some point.

    Winner: Thiago Santos, TKO, Round 1

    Heavyweight Bout: Chase Sherman vs. Justin Willis

    Jeffrey Harris: This is sort of an odd fight for the main card, but here we go. Maybe the UFC sees something in Justin Willis. I don’t have high expectations for this being a good or exciting fight. My hope is that it will at least not being a long slow slog of a heavyweight fight. I will go ahead and pick Willis here. Both guys do have knockout power and have quite a few knockout wins to their resumes. So hopefully, the fight will have at least that going for it.

    Winner: Justin Willis, TKO, Round 1

    Robert Winfree: Just, why. Willis has more upside and Sherman, while athletic, really struggles once he gets tagged. Willis is really left hand heavy with his offense and needs to avoid predictability but should win here.

    Winner: Justin Willis, TKO, Round 2

    Featherweight Bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson

    Jeffrey Harris: Frankie Edgar is taking this fight to fight at home in New Jersey. The problem? He’s stepping up to take this fight not even less than two months after he got knocked out into oblivion by Brian Ortega at UFC 222. Heck, this is not even eight weeks after that fight. Edgar taking this fight seven weeks removed from the first time he was finished in his entire MMA career sounds like insanity. That’s even taking into account that his opponent, Cub Swanson, is someone he’s beaten before. When Swanson and Edgar fought the first time, it was basically a dominant and one-sided beatdown for Frankie. He destroyed and dominated Swanson and eventually finished him late into the fight. It’s hard to overlook this fight happening so quickly after the Ortega fight. Swanson himself is also coming off a loss to Ortega. For Swanson, Ortega finished him by submission in the second round. This may sound weird, but I’m picking Swanson here. These two did fight before, and Swanson was handily defeated. However, that fight was about three-and-a-half years ago. Both guys are coming off losses, and Frankie won their first fight. However, Frankie Edgar is the one coming off a sounding and emphatic knockout loss less than two months before. Arguably, he probably shouldn’t even be allowed to fight here at all. It looks like it will be shades of Michael Bisping vs. Kelvin Gastelum happening three weeks after Bisping got beaten and finished by Georges St-Pierre. I don’t want to say that we’ve definitively started to see the decline of Franke Edgar. But we might find out more after this fight.

    Winner: Cub Swanson, TKO, Round 2

    Robert Winfree: I’m a little leery of this fight taking place so soon after Edgar was brutally knocked out, now it’s not as egregious as other incidents (Bisping vs. Gastelum for example) but it still bears watching that a fighter with as much mileage on him as Edgar is coming off of a first round KO loss. These two had a lopsided first fight when Edgar soundly thrashed and finished Swanson. Now I don’t expect this one to be that one sided, but still favor Edgar. Swanson is dangerous and shouldn’t be counted out by any stretch of the imagination, but I still think Edgar feints his way in close and gets him down and controls him.

    Winner: Frankie Edgar, Decision

    Catch-weight Bout (157 lbs.): Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee

    Jeffrey Harris: This is a pretty good lightweight fight here. Both guys look to rebound after some recent losses. Edson Barboza got absolutely dominated and beaten to a pulp by Khabib Nurmagomedov. Kevin Lee was defeated in an interim title fight by Tony Ferguson. It’s hard to overlook Kevin Lee’s issues with the weight cut here. But I will overlook that for this fight on paper. I like this fight a lot for Kevin Lee. Edson Barboza is a high-level striker. He has unbelievable kickboxing. His kicks are dynamic and amazing. However, he doesn’t respond well to pressure. Once Barboza finds his rhythm and timing, that’s when he excels. However, if a fighter is aggressive and pushes the pace, he doesn’t respond well to that type of pressure. Kevin Lee has all the tools to make this a long and hard night for Barboza. Not to mention, Barboza’s takedown defense is terrible, and Lee is a very good wrestler and grappler. I’m picking Kevin Lee to take this one here.

    Winner: Kevin Lee, Submission, Round 3

    Robert Winfree: This is a darn good right on paper, though it breaks down to another tried and true striker vs. grappler style of match. Barboza is a devastating striker with exceptional takedown defense, I mean prior to his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov he’d given up just one takedown in something like four or five fights. He has strong kicks, especially to the legs, and incredible speed with his hands and legs. The big key for him is remaining upright, because he’ll have a significant advantage over Lee there. To contrast Lee has exceptional wrestling and an absurd ability to take the back. Now neither man is unable to fight in the others wheel house, but have a significant advantage in their own. The big X-factor here is the rounds, neither man has ever been to a fourth or fifth round and both have been documented to fade at times. Assuming Lee doesn’t hang around too much on the feet with Barboza I think he gets this one done but this should be a good fight.

    Winner: Kevin Lee, Submission, Round 2

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