A lightweight bout between contenders Evan Dunham and Edson Barboza has been added to UFC 146: “Dos Santos vs Overeem” on May 26th in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC President Dana White announced the matchup earlier today. Both fighters are coming off of stoppage victories in January.
Dunham had a rough start to his 2011 campaign and suffered a quick TKO loss to Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard, but he has now battled back with two wins to begin his climb back up the lightweight ranks. Barboza remains unbeaten and scored a highlight-reel knockout win at UFC 142.
Dunham (13-2-0) looked to be on the cusp of title contention in 2010 after winning his first four UFC bouts against some of the promotion’s top lightweight prospects. However, a contentious decision loss to former champion Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk and the subsequent defeat to Guillard dropped Dunham out of the title picture in the ultra-competitive division. He earned a clear-cut decision win over Shamar Bailey in September, but it was his action-packed January bout with Nik Lentz, which Dunham won via doctor stoppage, that put him back on the contenders list.
Barboza (10-0-0) has not yet faced the same level of opposition that Dunham has during his UFC tenure, but he finds himself in a similar spot to where Dunham was at two years ago. A talented striker, Barboza has picked apart many of his opponents to date with a varied arsenal of kicks. At UFC 142 in Brazil, Barboza used a spinning wheel kick to knock out British prospect Terry Etim in spectacular fashion. The Knockout of the Year candidate has cemented Barboza’s reputation as a force to be reckoned with at 155 pounds and he now looks for his biggest win to date.
On paper, the bout appears to be a standard striker versus grappler matchup, as Barboza’s standup skills meet Dunham’s formidable wrestling. Dunham has held his own in striking exchanges with past opponents, however, and Barboza possesses an underrated ground game. The winner of the May showdown could position himself for a title contender’s bout later this year.
UFC 146: “Dos Santos vs Overeem” takes place on May 26th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is headlined by a UFC Heavyweight Championship bout between Junior “Cigano” dos Santos and Alistair Overeem, and also features a middleweight matchup between Jason “Mayhem” Miller and C.B. “The Doberman” Dollaway.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)