In the main event of UFC Atlantic City, Kevin Lee made his case for a shot at the lightweight title with a fifth-round TKO win over Edson Barboza. Lee dominated the fight with his grappling and survived Barboza's strikes. Lee missed weight on Friday, weighing in one pound above the lightweight limit of 156.
Lee was able to get a takedown early in the first round and worked to the full mount multiple times. He landed some hard ground-and-pound and maintained top position until the end of the round. Barboza looked tired to start the second round and Lee was eventually able to get him to the ground again with a big slam. He continued to dominate the grappling exchanges but Barboza was able to survive the round. Barboza came out aggressively in the third and landed some nice body kicks before landing a crazy spinning heel kick that wobbled Lee. Lee secured a takedown and was able to recover, but Barboza worked back to his feet for the first time in the fight and both of them continued landing shots as the round ended.
The momentum was on Barboza's side and he came out firing to start the fourth round, but Lee quickly got his fourth takedown of the fight. Lee stayed busy on top as the crowd chanted, "Stand them up!" Barboza was just too tired to get back to his feet but he showed great heart surviving the round after Lee landed some big hammer fists. Lee landed a huge punch early in the fifth round that opened a cut under Barboza's eye. After time was stopped when Barboza lost his mouthpiece during a striking exchange, the doctor stepped in and stopped the fight to give Lee the TKO victory. In his post-fight interview, Lee called for a title shot against lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
In the co-main event, Frankie Edgar won a unanimous decision om his home state of New Jersey over Cub Swanson. Edgar took the fight on short-notice after being knocked out for the first time in his career by Brian Ortega at UFC 222 in March. This win wasn't as dominant as Edgar's previous win over Swanson, but it was never in doubt. Swanson was able to stuff all of Edgar's takedown attempts, so Edgar utilized his trademark movement to land combinations and avoid Swanson's punches. After the fight, Edgar called for the title shot he never received due to featherweight champion Max Holloway withdrawing from UFC 222 with an injury. It was announced Saturday that Holloway is scheduled to defend his title against Ortega at UFC 226 on July 7, so Edgar will most likely be in line to face the winner. It was Swanson's second straight loss.
Full results from the event can be found below:
- Kevin Lee def. Edson Barboza via TKO (doctor's stoppage) at 2:18 of Round 5
- Frankie Edgar def Cub Swanson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Justin Willis def. Chase Sherman via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- David Branch def. Thiago "Marreta" Santos via knockout (punches) at 2:30 of Round 1
- Aljamain Sterling def. Brett Johns via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Dan Hooker def. Jim Miller via knockout (knee, punch) at 3:00 of Round 1
- Ryan LaFlare def. Alex Garcia via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ricky Simon def. Merab Dvalishvili via TKO at 5:00 of Round 3
- Siyar Bahadurzada def. Luan Chagas via knockout (body kick, punch) at 2:40 of Round 2
- Corey Anderson def. Patrick Cummins via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
- Tony Martin def. Keita Nakamura via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)