MMA Odds and Ends for Monday: Johnson vs. Barboza Set As UFC FN 61 Co-Main

ufc-162 UFC Fight Night 61 has its co-main event secured, and it’s a good one as top-10 lightweights Michael Johnson and Edson Barboza will face off in what should be an exciting three-round scrap. The card takes place February 22 at Ginasio Gigantinho in Porto Algere, Brazil, and is the co-headliner to the main event of Rashad Evans vs. Glover Teixeira. Johnson vs. Barboza is an excellent fight and should provide an entertaining 15 minutes or less for the fans, as well as determine where each fighter fits in the top 15 of the division. Barboza is coming off of back-to-back wins over Bobby Green and Evan Dunham while Johnson is coming off of three-straight wins over Joe Lauzon, Gleison Tibau and Melvin Guillard, and the winner of this fight should take a step up to the next level of competition with a victory. For Barboza, he’ll be looking to stay on the outside and land his nasty leg kicks to damage Johnson, while for Johnson he will try to get within his boxing range to use his hands and attack Barboza’s chin. We have seen time and time again that Barboza doesn’t have a great chin and that Johnson has big-time power for a 155lber, so if he can connect with some big strikes to the chin of Barboza, he could very well score the knockout win. But if Barboza can stay away from Johnson’s hands and keep on the outside and land his leg kicks, he could absolutely take home a decision or even stop Johnson with kicks to the legs or to the body. This is a close fight and I could see it going either way. I think Barboza is the better overall striker and has been more active, but that chin is a real concern in this one going up against a powerful puncher like Johnson, so I don’t think I would be willing to risk much juice on Barboza here. Having said that, I do expect a close line regardless, but I think Barboza should be favored at around -140 here with the initial comeback on Johnson around +100, but we’ll see how the line gets moved by the public when the official odds for this bout come out in February. Either way, though, this is going to be a great fight and I can’t wait to watch it go down.

Written by Adam Martin.

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