Tony Ferguson won his seventh straight fight and shot himself to the head of the lightweight title contender's list with a second-round submission win Friday over Edson Barboza. In the first, Ferguson shot for repeated leg-lock attempts and had a point deducted for an illegal up-kick while Barboza was downed during a scramble.
Once they resumed the action, Barboza attacked with spinning kicks and sharp punches. Ferguson replied in turn, connecting with big punches.
Barboza caught a leg after a kick from Ferguson and scored a trip takedown. Back on their feet, he connected with a reverse spinning kick to the body of Ferguson.
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By the second round, both men were bleeding from their faces. Barboza caught another kick from Ferguson and turned it into his second trip takedown.
Ferguson stayed active off his back, landing big elbows from the bottom. After getting back to his feet, Ferguson sprawled on a takedown attempt from Barboza, turned it into a head drag and then locked up a D'Arce choke.
It was sunk, and the tap out came moments later. "Of course I had him deep, and I knew I had it," he said, afterwards.
"That's what I do."
Ferguson wants someone inside the top four of the lightweight division rankings next, or a shot at the belt he clearly believes he can take home. "Give me my title shot and I'll take it," he ended.
The win improved Ferguson's record to 21-3. The loss for Barboza, who took this fight on short notice, drops him to 16-3.