Photo by Mike Bacos/MMANytt

Edson Barboza Brutalizes Dan Hooker Before Finishing with Third Round Knockout

Edson Barboza bounced back from two straight losses in the most dominant way possible as he decimated Dan Hooker before finishing the fight with a third round knockout

On Saturday night, Edson Barboza proved there are levels to this game, especially when it comes to the snake pit that is the lightweight division.

Barboza walked into his fight at UFC on FOX 31 as a slight underdog to Dan Hooker after the New Zealand native reeled off four straight wins at 155 pounds, all by knockout or submission.

Barboza put a violent end to that streak by absolutely battering him over two plus rounds until he mercifully finished the fight with a third round knockout.

After facing two wrestlers back-to-back, Barboza seemed like a new fighter on the feet because he didn’t seem to fear the takedown from Hooker and it allowed him to unleash his entire arsenal of strikes.

Barboza just brutalized Hooker’s legs throughout the opening round and he would then alternate to go to the body, which then opened up the Kiwi’s chin.

That’s when Barboza started swinging with punches to the head and he tagged Hooker with several stinging shots that staggered the surging lightweight contender.

Despite taking a mountain of damage, Hooker refused to back down and in the second round he managed to land a takedown after it appeared Barboza was possibly running out of gas after exerting so much energy early on.

It was a short lived bit of success as Barboza eventually worked his way back to the feet and then continued his assault on Hooker.

While the punishment mounted round after round, Barboza really poured in on in the third as he was on the attack from the moment the fighters were released from their corners.

Barboza attacked the legs and then started to go after the body with a blistering series of kicks including a spinning attack that saw his heel just dig into Hooker’s abdomen.

Somehow Hooker stayed standing through most of that but Barboza finally landed one more kick to the body that absolutely folded him in half and send him crumbling down to the canvas. The referee finally stepped into stop the contest at 2:19 into the third round.

Following back-to-back losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kevin Lee, Barboza uprooted his life and returned to Florida where he began training full time with American Top Team while also reuniting with his Muay Thai coach Anderson Franca.

The results paid off as Barboza looked better than ever while decimating Hooker over the course of 10 plus minutes in the cage together.

“He’s one of the best in the world. I’m No. 5 in the world, there are only four guys in front of me,” Barboza said about Hooker. “I’m back. Be ready guys.”

Barboza may have to prove himself against a wrestler at some point in the future to prove he’s back in title contention but there’s little doubt that anyone who chooses to stand and trade with the Brazilian is likely in for an excruciating night at the office as Hooker just experienced.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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