UFC 134: Rio Primer - Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barboza

UFC® RIO Weigh-In at HSBC Arena on Friday, August 26, 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Photos by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

At UFC 134: Rio this Saturday, Ultimate Fighter winner Ross Pearson (12-4; 4-1 UFC) faces the undefeated Edson Barboza (8-0; 2-0 UFC). This Lightweight contest is the 2nd bout on the PPV portion of the card. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings currently have neither man in the top 25, though both have to be considered close.

These are two very evenly matched opponents, and a well put together fight. But it's also a very tough one for both men. The UFC Lightweight division is just so packed that neither man has yet been able to pull away from the pack. The winner will move up a bit, while the loser will see himself even more lost in the shuffle. Given Barboza's undefeated record, as well as Pearson's name recognition from TUF, it would seem Barboza has more to gain here, and an impressive win should guarantee him a bigger fight next time out.

How do these two stack up?

Pearson: 26 years old | 5'8" | 69" reach
Barboza: 25 years old | 5'11" | 75" reach

What have these two done recently?

Pearson: W - Spencer Fisher (UD) | L - Cole Miller (SUB) | W - Dennis Siver (UD)
Barboza: W - Anthony Njokuani (UD) | W - Mike Lullo (TKO) | W - Marcelo Guidici (TKO)

How did these two get here?

Ross Pearson made his way to the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter, winning the US vs. UK season. He followed that up with another pair of wins, including a victory over the highly ranked Dennis Siver. Despite those wins, he's never received much of a promotional push compared to some other TUF champions, and after suffering a loss to Cole Miller in September, he's gotten a bit lost. He bounced back from that loss by defeating Spencer Fisher, and looks to make it 2 in a row against Barboza.

Edson Barboza has put together a flawless record, with 8 wins in his 2 year career. A Muay Thai specialist with a number of Brazilian Muay Thai title under his belt, his UFC debut came last year at UFC 123. There, he defeated Mike Lullo in very impressive fashion, stopping him with brutal leg kicks. He's followed that up with a 2nd UFC victory, defeating Anthony Njokuani at UFC 128, again in a very impressive, striking based performance. Barboza has a lot of potential, and as he looks to continue that perfect record, he's definitely a fighter to watch.

Why should you care?

Again, it's a very even fight, and I expect these two will push each other, especially Barboza, who is an up and comer to watch. This is my pick for Fight of the Night.

More UFC 134 Previews from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

More UFC 134 coverage from SBN



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