A key lightweight bout between former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and dangerous striker Edson Barboza served as the co-main event of tonight’s UFC on FOX 20 card in Chicago.
Round one begins and Edson takes the center of the octagon. Melendez comes forward with a combo. Edson replies with back-to-back leg kicks. Gilbert shoots in for a takedown but Barboza defends. Edson with a nice left hand. He misses with a front kick. Melendez attempts a takedown but it is not there. Gilbert presses forward with punches. Barboza circles away. Edson with a body kick but Melendez catches it and lands a knee. Two brutal leg kicks score for Barboza. Gilbert lands a nice left hook. Melendez lands a nice right and then a left. Barboza replies with a jab and then an uppercut. Edson misses with a body kick. Melendez pumps his jab but misses. Nice uppercut and then a right hand from Edson. He clips Gilbert with a left. Melendez circles away. Edson lands a knee to the body of Gilbert as round one comes to an end.
Round two begins and both men throw combos to start. Gilbert with a right hand. Edson lands a jab but eats a Melendez right hand. Gilbert attempts a takedown but Edson shrugs it off. Big leg kick scores for Barboza. He lands another and Melendez drops to the floor. Gil gets up but eats another nasty leg kick. Gilbert misses with a jab and Edson lands another solid leg kick. Huge kick to the body lands for Barboza and another. These kicks are brutal. Gilbert catches Barboza with a right hand. Edson is hurt. Gil rushes in but cannot score a takedown. Barboza looks to be recovered from the big shot. He presses forward and misses with a leg kick. Both fighters land jabs. Edson with another nice leg kick. Thirty seconds remain in the round, Gilbert with a jab. Edson misses wildly with a right. Edson catches a Gilbert kick and takes him to the ground. Nice shots from the top to close out round one by Barboza.
Round three begins and Edson lands a nice left jab. He follows up with two nice leg kicks. Gilbert’s leg is hurt. Edson with another big kick. Melendez is forced to switch stances. Barboza with a left hook as Gil presses forward. Edson lands another brutal leg kick. Melendez misses with a jab. Edson responds with another leg kick. Melendez misses with a wild right and eats a leg kick for his efforts. Gil shoots in for a takedown but it is not there. Barboza with another leg kick. Melendez continues to press forward with punches but Edson is able to circle away. Two minutes remain in the final round. Gilbert is trying to find a home for his jab but Edson is using good movement to avoid the shots. Barboza misses with a leg kick attempt. One minute remains. Melendez lands a right jab. Barboza circles away. Gilbert with a jab to the body. Melendez lands a right hand. Round three comes to an end.
Barboza defeats Melendez via decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)