After dropping her last two fights in a row, the 23-year-old prospect gutted out a split-decision win in a back-and-forth battle against Miranda Maverick on the main card. The judges scored the fight 29-28 twice for Barber with the third official scoring it 29-28 for Maverick.
The difference seemed to be third round, which was the most definitive of the fight as Barber really pushed the pace in an attempt to get the finish before ultimately getting the nod on the scorecards.
“I tried to do something big,” Barber said about the third round. “I want to win over the fans and I wanted to win over the judges. I went for something big and it paid off. I definitely had a good fight with her.”
There was a lot of respect between the fighters in the opening round with Maverick moving forward while Barber was constantly circling away trying to evade the pressure. While Maverick wasn’t throwing with volume, she was still finding a home for her body kicks and then going back up top to the head while Barber did her best to duck out of the way.
When Barber did start stepping into her combinations, she quickly tasted Maverick’s power as the Invicta FC veteran just leaned into her punches as she welcomed the exchanges. Barber did manage to get inside to look for a takedown but Maverick was quick to counter to scramble back to her feet.
Just before the second round ended, Maverick rushed forward to wrestle Barber down to the mat and she immediately took the back before looking for the rear-naked choke as the horn sounded.
With five minutes remaining, Barber knew she had to do something special if she was going to leave the cage with a victory and that forced her to engage with a lot more offense. Barber managed to close the distance, which then allowed her to land strikes in the clinch while forcing Maverick to use all of her energy to try and break free.
As she broke away, Barber threw a well-timed spinning back elbow that clubbed Maverick as the fighters continued to throw shots until the fight finally came to an end.
While it was a razor close fight, Barber got the job done and now that she’s back on track, she’s looking to take a step up into the top 10 rankings with her next fight.
“Jessica Eye is No. 8,” Barber said when asked about her next move. “She’s coming off a loss and I’d like to get a win over Jessica Eye and take that No. 8 spot.”