UFC 142 fight card: Edson Barboza vs Terry Etim prediction, preview and breakdown

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 13: (L-R) Opponents Edson Barboza and Terry Etim face off after weighing in during the UFC 142 Weigh In at HSBC Arena on January 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via UFC.com).

Since his impressive Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut stoppage of Mike Lullo, the unbeaten (9-0) Edson Barboza has sloughed through a pair of close decision wins over Anthony Njokuani and Ross Pearson, both of which were razor-thin wins.

What he needed in those fights were distance and experience, as in his six pre-UFC bouts, he'd ended five fights in the first round. Perhaps expectations were a tad high off Barboza's destruction of Lullo, which comprised a brutal series of leg kicks that scored a rare leg-kick technical knockout. Lullo simply couldn't continue.

What Barboza needed was experience in a distance fight, as a young prospects don't know how much ammo they'll have in a long scrap until they actually experience one. The fights with Njokuani and Barboza showed the strengths and weaknesses of Barboza: He can unleash savage strikes with little warning, is extremely fast and dangerous when he decides to unload, and has a good grasp of distance and timing.

The downside is that he can be somewhat inactive for long stretches, allowing his opponent to get back into the fight. Nobody's come close to taking him down, which is precisely what the 6'1 Terry Etim -- a good submission man -- is going to have to do tonight (Jan. 14, 2012) in their lightweight fight at UFC 142, which takes place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Etim's stand up is fairly good, but it isn't in the class of Barboza's. He is one of the rare fighters in the game who's probably more dangerous when you take him down, because his long limbs and outstanding Brazilian jiu-jitsu present all sorts of problems.

Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 142 fight between Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim:

The Breakdown

Barboza's machine-gun attack and then baffling inactivity in spots may be a product of making the cut to 155 pounds. In addition to the inexperience with long fights, he may simply be huge for the weight class and lack confidence in his ability to fight past a certain pace. But, his takedown defense and grappling are outstanding (both of which are rarely seen given his ability to dictate the fight standing) and Etim doesn't figure to be able to overpower him to the mat.

For Etim, he's going to have to resign himself to absorbing some brutal leg kicks early and steering clear of the solid punch-kick combos Barboza can unleash, and drag the Brazilian into a long, taxing fight. Style-wise, it's a tough assignment for Etim because he lacks the core wrestling strength, and presents a huge target for Barboza's nasty strikes.

The Pick

Styles make fights, and it's no accident that Barboza gets an ideal showcase in from of his fellow Brazilians here.

Etim is game, which will see him initially pressing forward until Barboza hammers home kicks and ramming right hands down the pipe to touch him up. At some point, Etim will be caught with a strike and dropped to the mat, and Barboza will either jump in for a ground and pound finish, or avoid it entirely, forcing Etim back up.

Either way, Etim's going to take a lot of punishment in this one, with Barboza turning up the pressure for an impressive stoppage in the third round.

Barboza via knockout

Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 142 results of all the "Aldo vs. Mendes" PPV action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, FX "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7:30 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Saturday morning.

See you then!

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