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UFC Phoenix results: Vicente Luque finishes Bryan Barberena in a thrilling slugfest

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Now we know what exactly it takes to knock out Bryan Barberena.

The announcers at UFC Phoenix pointed out early in Barberena’s UFC Phoenix fight with Vicente Luque that the MMA Lab competitor had never been knocked out in his 20-fight MMA career.

And as it turns out, it took a Fight of the Night and early contender for Fight of the Year slugfest for it to occur.

Luque and Barberena threw down in a thrilling welterweight slugfest Sunday night before two big knees and several follow-up blows ended the bout at the 4:54 mark of the third round.

“Barberena is a tough guy as tough as they come and he’s the toughest fight I had for sure,” Luque said.

Luque came out firing in the opening round and put a hurting on Barberena. He found success with big left-right combos to the jaw, but could never quite put him away. Later in the round, Luque had Barberena in a tight choke, but Barberena somehow managed to pop free right at the moment it appeared he might go out.

Then in the second round, it was Barberena’s turn. While Luque’s striking was technical, Barberena’s was just nasty. Luque tried a traditional boxer’s cover-up of his face, but Barberena busted right through it with dirty boxing in close, blasting his way through, and then following up with huge standing elbows in a round which was clearly his.

The third round was back-and-forth, as both competitors gave as good as they got. It still seemed a coin flip of a decision until Luque turned up the heat in the final minute and finally toppled his foe as the bout wound toward the time limit.

“I thought all the rounds were pretty close so I thought I had to go for the finish,” Luque said. “I wanted to secure the win and make sure ti didn’t go to the judges.”

With the victory, Brazil’s Luque (15-6-1) has now won four straight and eight of his past nine. The MMA Lab’s Barberena (14-6) has now dropped two of his past three.

“He’s a warrior man, we threw down and I gave it everything I had and he gave it right back,” Barberena said.