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UFC 134 Fight Card Breakdown: Edson Barboza Vs. Ross Pearson

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Some fights make you scratch your head. In the case of UFC 134's Edson Barboza vs. Ross Pearson, there are a couple of big questions begged by the match-up and its placement on the UFC 134 pay-per-view main card. 

A few years back the competition was fierce to get on the main pay-per-view card and be seen by hundreds of thousands or even millions of UFC fans. These days with virtually every fight at least being streamed on Facebook and other fights being seen on Spike TV by even more fans than the pay-per-view, it's a different matter.

I would argue that both of tonight's Spike TV bouts --  Thiago Tavares vs. Spencer Fisher and Dan Miller vs. Rousimar Palhares -- are higher profile fights than the lightweight fight between Barboza vs. Pearson. While Pearson is a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter and Barboza is a highly touted undefeated prospect with a fan-friendly striking style, neither is as well known as the veterans Tavares & Fisher or Miller and Palhares.

Basically they're throwing Pearson to the wolves here. Barboza has looked very good in his UFC outings so far with a brutal Muay Thai game and great athleticism. Pearson went on a good 3-0 streak upon coming into the UFC but a KO loss to Cole Miller blunted his momentum. He took a decision over Spencer Fisher in his last bout and should pose an interesting stylistic test for Barboza with his crisp boxing technique. 

But Barboza will have reach and power advantages plus the stylistic advantages that come with a leg-kick heavy Muay Thai attack. Expect to see Barboza bombing on Pearson from the outside as Pearson struggles to get into punching range.

Aspect Barboza Points Pearson Advantage
Range Fighting

Boxing Strong Technical Pearson
Kickboxing Damaging Effective Barboza
Wrestling Ok 1 Not Bad Pearson
Clinch Fighting        
Dirty Boxing Hurtful 1 Mean Pearson
Thai Clinch Cruel 2 Effective Barboza
Throws/Trips Ok 1 Surprising Pearson
Ground Fighting

Positional Control Good + 1 Good Barboza
Scrambling Elusive 1 Wily Barboza
Escapes Slippery 1 Plodding Barboza
Submissions Good 1 Ok Barboza
Intangibles Hungry 1 Just Hanging On Barboza
Overall Moving On Up 9/4 Nearly Done Barboza