Things did not go as planned for Edson Barboza in the main event of UFC on ESPN 2 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Barboza suffered a first-round knockout loss to Justin Gaethje on Saturday, March 30, but an eye poke may have dictated the way the fight played out.
Barboza’s longtime Muay Thai coach, Anderson Franca, took to social media to share a photo of the Brazilian’s eye which was clearly damaged. Barboza’s manager Alex Davis also commented on the alleged eye poke.
“Not meaning to make excuses, but this did dictate the fight,” Davis wrote on Twitter.
Franca went into more detail, however.
“I really think this fight would have been one of the best fights of the year,” Franca’s post read, as translated by Fernanda Prates of MMAjunkie.com. “Justin Gaethje is an excellent fighter. He’s certainly among the world’s best. We have a lot of respect for him and his team. I don’t know if the result would have been different or not, but I believe the fight would have been much longer if it wasn’t for this incident. We appreciate everyone’s love.
“I can guarantee we gave it 100 percent to represent our country. A big hug to everyone.”
Here is the post and photo of Barboza’s eye.
View this post on Instagram
Realmente acho q essa luta seria uma das melhores luta do ano, o @justin_gaethje è um excelente lutador, está com certeza entre os melhores do mundo.Temos muito respeito por ele e sua equipe, n sei se o resultado seria outro ou não, mas acredito q a luta teria sido bem mais longa, se n houvesse esse incidente.Agradecemos o carinho de todos, posso garantir q nos doamos 100 porcento p representar nosso país. Grande abraço a todos
Barboza (20-7) has now lost three of his last four outings. Gaethje, meanwhile, is on a two-fight winning streak.
Full results from UFC on ESPN 2 can be seen below.
UFC on ESPN 2 Results
- Justin Gaethje def. Edson Barboza via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:30
- Jack Hermansson def. David Branch via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 0:49
- Josh Emmett def. Michael Johnson via knockout (punch) – Round 3, 4:14
- Michelle Waterson def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Paul Craig def. Kennedy Nzechukwu via submission (triangle choke) – Round 3, 4:20
- Sodiq Yusuff def. Sheymon Moraes via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Marina Rodriguez def. Jessica Aguilar via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-27, 29-27)
- Desmond Green def. Ross Pearson via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:52
- Kevin Aguilar def. Enrique Barzola via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Kevin Holland def. Gerald Meerschaert via split decision (29-27, 28-29, 30-27)
- Casey Kenney def. Ray Borg via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Maryna Moroz def. Sabina Mazo via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Alex Perez def. Mark De La Rosa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)