UFC Phoenix just showed us exactly what it takes to knock out Bryan Barberena.
Vicente Luque was the first fighter to write a KO loss on Barberena’s 20-fight MMA record following their thrilling welterweight slugfest at UFC on ESPN in Arizona. Two big knees and several follow-up blows ended the match at the 4:54 mark of round three, en route to winning the Fight of the Night honours and a shot for the Fight of The Year recognition.
That's a Fight of the Year contender! Vicente Luque (15-6-1) takes a tremendous war, felling Bryan Barberena in the dying seconds! "The Silent Assassin" has stopped four straight and is 8-1 in his last nine. He has finished 14 of 15 wins, eight by knockout. #UFCPhoenix pic.twitter.com/DumNfBTTDY
— Bulgogi Jones (@Hamderlei) February 18, 2019
Both guys wowed the stadium and pay-per-view audience of Sunday night’s event at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix after going to an instant classic. The early contender for the Fight of the Year has paved the way for the first knockout loss in Barberena’s career.
“Barberena is a tough guy as tough as they come and he’s the toughest fight I had for sure,” Luque stated post-fight.
‘The Silent Assassin’ came out of the opening round throwing a flurry of punches and hurting his opponent. Luque successfully landed big left-right combos on Barberena’s jaw but they weren’t enough to put ‘Bam Bam’ away.
Later in the first round, the Brazilian fighter was able to wrap his American rival in a tight choke but Barberena managed to escape right when it appeared he might go out. In the second round, Barberena took his turn in sending a volume of punches.
— UFC (@ufc) February 18, 2019
The native of Minnesota played nasty in striking his opponent while Luque’s jabs remained technical. ‘Bam Bam’ was able to bust through his opponent’s traditional boxer’s face cover-up with dirty punches followed up with huge standing elbows; scoring the round.
Then in the third round, the slugfest became a back-and-forth battle as both mixed martial artists gave as good as they got. When the fight seemed to be gearing towards a draw or split-decision decision win, Luque surprisingly toppled his foe and scored a TKO victory.
“I thought all the rounds were pretty close so I thought I had to go for the finish,” Luque stated. “I wanted to secure the win and make sure ti didn’t go to the judges.”
“He’s a warrior man, we threw down and I gave it everything I had and he gave it right back,” Barberena said, on the other hand.
Vicente Luque (163) and Bryan Barberena (169) combine for 332 significant strikes, the 2nd largest tally in three-round UFC history. And just two behind the all-time record of 334 set by Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone at UFC 141. pic.twitter.com/ZzsUud2wUl
— UFC News (@UFCNews) February 18, 2019
UFC Phoenix Full Results
Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez — Ngannou def. Velasquez by TKO (punches) at 0:26 of Round One
Paul Felder vs. James Vick — Felder def. Vick by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Cortney Casey — Calvillo def. Casey by unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)
Alex Caceres vs. Kron Gracie — Gracie def. Caceres by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:06 of Round One
Bryan Barberena vs. Vicente Luque — Luque def. Barberena by TKO (knees and punches) at 4:54 of Round Three
Andre Fili vs. Myles Jury — Fili def. Jury by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Jimmie Rivera vs. Aljamain Sterling — Sterling def. Rivera by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Manny Bermudez vs. Benito Lopez — Bermudez def. Lopez by submission (guillotine choke) at 3:09 of Round One
Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Andrea Lee — Lee def. Evans-Smith by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Scott Holtzman vs. Nik Lentz — Lentz def. Holtzman by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Renan Barao vs. Luke Sanders — Sanders def. Barao by KO (punches) at 1:01 of Round Two
Alexandra Albu vs. Emily Whitmire — Whitmire def. Albu by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:01 of Round One
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