With the recent rumblings that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) would once again return to Brazil on Jan. 19, 2013, fight announcements have been trickling out consistently. Now, Tatame has announced a fun lightweight contest between Edson Barboza and Justin Salas, both in need of a win to gain back their momentum.
Less than one year ago, Barboza seemed to be one of Brazil's most promising top lightweights, boasting a perfect record (10-0) that was capped off by a highlight-reel spinning wheel kick knockout of Terry Etim in Brazil. He was known for having some of the very best striking in the division, despite contested decision wins over Ross Pearson and Anthony Njokuani.
Then, at UFC 146, his hype was destroyed by late-replacement and heavy underdog Jamie Varner, who put away Barboza in the first round with a barrage of strikes. With that big loss, Barboza's stock dropped heavily, and he's definitely in need of a big win to climb the rankings once again.
Salas, a terrific wrestler with improving stand up, has fought twice in the UFC. In his debut fight, he defeated Anton Kuivanan by unanimous decision, before running into Tim Means in his next bout. He went into the fight on a six-fight win streak, but left with a battered face, as Means beat him down in just over a minute.
Salas is a progressing fighter, and before his loss to Means, had plenty of upside. Now, after meeting defeat in a big way, he really needs to get back up if he wants the momentum he once had. It won't be easy, as Barboza is a tough opponent, but he may very well be fighting for his job in Brazil.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more fight announcements for the UFC's upcoming Brazil show in early 2013.