In a wildly entertaining battle at UFC Columbus between two of the welterweight division’s hardest-hitting strikers, it was Barberena who came out on top by the thinnest of margins, winning a split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
The outcome was in doubt until the final bell as the pair split the first two rounds (see the official scorecard here) to set the stage for a dramatic third that ended with Barberena on the offensive. A powerful closing flurry by Barberena (17-8) sealed the deal for “Bam Bam,” who improved to 8-6 inside the octagon with his second straight win and third in his past four outings.
As expected, the action was non-stop for 15 minutes. Brown immediately came out pressuring in Round 1 only to be met with hard counter punches from Barberena. In close, Brown threw his trademark elbows while working for takedowns. Barberena was put on his back on more than one occasion, but was consistently able to get back to his feet while minimizing the damage he received on the ground.
Standing elbows proved to be an effective weapon for both fighters throughout the contest and there were several in-close exchanges that were almost too close to call. However, Barberena waded through some of Brown’s best punches in Round 2 to land his own power strikes and other than Brown going for an unorthodox armbar attempt on the ground, it was Barberena who had the edge in damage.
By the time Round 3 started, the Columbus crowd was in a frenzy cheering on Ohio’s Brown. The welterweights stood in the proverbial phone booth and bludgeoned each other with punches and elbows, with Brown mixing in takedowns that led to little offense. It was Barberena who marched forward in the second half of Round 3, landing a hard uppercut before eating a stiff right from Brown. They traded in the final 30 seconds, with Barberena showing he had a little more left in the tank to get the win.
This was Brown’s 29th UFC fight, extending his record for the most appearances by a welterweight in company history. His UFC record falls to 16-13.