UFC Fight Night 61 Fight Breakdown: Edson Barboza vs. Michael Johnson

ufc-162 The co-main event of UFC Fight Night 61 is a three-round lightweight bout between Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Barboza is a -145 favorite (bet $145 to win $100) while Johnson is a +125 underdog (bet $100 to win $125). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Barboza at -140 and Johnson at +100, and overall the public leans towards Barboza in the matchup. This is a competitive fight but I lean towards Barboza to get the win. Here’s why. Barboza (15-2) is one of the most deadly strikers in the UFC lightweight division. The 29-year-old Brazilian is 9-2 in the UFC with wins over the likes of Bobby Green, Evan Dunham and Ross Pearson, with his only losses coming to Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone. Barboza is just a very special striker. He has some of the nastiest leg kicks in UFC history and has stopped two opponents in the Octagon with kicks to their legs. He also has a highlight-reel spinning wheel kick KO of Terry Etim that is among the best in UFC history. But while he is a gifted talent offensively, defensively he is flawed. He has been rocked and dropped in multiple fights and was even finished via TKO by Varner, a guy not known for his knockout power. I wouldn’t say Barboza has a glass chin like many others say about him, but his chin is definitely questionable, so if he gets caught by Johnson he is at risk of being finished. But if he can avoid the knockout blow against himself and keep his distance and unload his leg kicks he can definitely win this fight, and that’s why he’s the favorite here. Johnson (15-8) was a competitor on TUF 12 and has since gone on to post a 7-4 record in the UFC with wins over the likes over Gleison Tibau, Joe Lauzon, Melvin Guillard and Tony Ferguson. The 28-year-old American is a very good striker with impressive boxing skills. He has won seven fights via T/KO in his career including a notable knockout win over Tibau. He’s also outstruck other great strikers like Ferguson. His Achilles’ heel has been his ground game, as Johnson has terrible submission defence and has been finished by sub six times in his career. That likely won’t come into play against a striker like Barboza, but it’s something to keep in mind going forward. Johnson is a great sprawl-and-brawler and absolutely has the chance to knock Barboza out, but he needs to watch out for Barboza’s leg kicks, because those kicks will add up quick and if Johnson doesn’t check them he could be in trouble, similarly to Barboza’s last fight against Green. I’ve been going back and forth on this fight for a while as I could see either guy winning. I could see Barboza outpointing Johnson to a decision and I could see Johnson getting the knockout. Ultimately, I’m going to side with Barboza to get his hand raised here. It’s a very close fight, one that could go either way, but I do believe Barboza is the more technical and varied striker and I think he will be able to win a decision. That being said, if he does get knocked out it wouldn’t surprise me at all, so no way I can recommend a bet on him considering the juice, but I do lean towards the Brazilian to get the W here.

Written by Adam Martin.

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International Odds Available for M-1 Challenge 55 and KSW 30 via 5Dimes