(Video via MSN)
First of all, it was a fantastic mixed martial arts contest. MMA fights turn into C-level kickboxing or 15-minute bouts of clinching too often these days. Barboza-Castillo reminded us what the sport is capable of in terms of excitement. There were near KOs, there were takedowns, there were submission attempts. The match represented the full range of fighting.
Second, the fight represented a comeback—not a Tim Boetsch vs. Yushin Okami level comeback—but a comeback nonetheless. Castillo brutalized Barboza in the first round; it appeared the Brazilian striking phenom was out of his depth. Barboza manged to reverse fortunes in the second round with leg and body kicks; his shins were meat tenderizers.
The third round was close, but it was ultimately Barboza that got the nod from the judges, winning via majority decision.
For their efforts, both men took home an extra $50,000 as part of the “Fight of the Night” bonus.