Edson Barboza unleashed his patented leg kicks Saturday night to help him secure a unanimous decision victory over Gilbert Melendez at UFC Fight Night from Chicago. The scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 in favor of Barboza.
The fight was close over the first five minutes, with Melendez finding success with sweeping combinations while Barboza began to tenderize "El Nino" with kicks.
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Barboza continued with the vicious leg kicks in the second round, and midway through, dropped Melendez twice with back-to-back attacks on his opponent's lead leg.
A resilient Melendez caught Barboza with an overhand right hand that hurt him badly. Edson was able to recover and likely stole the round with a trip takedown that he followed up with some effective ground-and-pound.
The third round saw Barboza continue to brutalize Melendez's legs as the former Strikeforce champion hobbled around and struggled to get out of the way of Barboza's heavy strikes. Melendez spent the final two minutes essentially hopping on one leg while Barboza cruised to victory.
"Of course not, I'm not surprised [he was so tough]," Barboza told Joe Rogan. "He's one of the best in the world and he stayed at the top for a long time. Like I said, I came for a war and you guys saw a big war."
The win marked Barboza's second straight victory in the Octagon and pushes him that much closer to a shot at the lightweight title.
"I think I feel very close to the title shot. I will keep moving forward," Barboza said. "I saw three guys in front of me -- Khabib [Nurmagomedov], [Tony] Ferguson and Rafael [dos Anjos] -- I think one of those guys are perfect for me right now. But I am ready to fight five rounds."