UFC Phoenix Bonuses: Absolute Thriller Luque vs. Barberena Claims Fight of the Night

Bryan Barberena UFC
Bryan Barberena Credit: Mike Straus/Cageside Press

The unforgiving and downright thrilling war between Vicente Luque and Bryan Barberena was a lock for Fight of the Night at UFC Phoenix.

There are nights where you might hem and haw over your Fight of the Night pick. And then there’s UFC Phoenix. One fight was a lock for the honor, with play-by-play man Jon Anik mentioning it as a Fight of the Year candidate before the night was over. That would be Vicente Luque vs. Bryan Barberena. On a night with some very solid contests, their back-and-forth war stood out among the pack.

The decision to award the duo was an obvious one. Luque and Barberena both displayed tons of heart, battering one another for nearly a full three rounds. Each refusing to quit. Luque found success early. Barberena battled pack, and it seemed like he might finish the fight at points.

Yet it was Luque getting a late third round finish capped off by a pair of knees to the body that sent ‘Bam Bam’ to the canvas. The Brazilian had the win. Barberena received a thunderous ovation following the fight. No loser here.

The remaining two bonuses from UFC on ESPN 1 in Phoenix went to Luke Sanders and newcomer Kron Gracie. Gracie did what Gracies do, earning a submission win over the outclassed Alex Caceres.

Sanders, meanwhile, continued the misery tour of former bantamweight champ Renan Barao. The Brazilian, after missing weight, was knocked out in the second round by Sanders. ‘The Baron’ is likely to take flight to Bellator or greener pastures elsewhere at this point, as he has lost four straight, and is just 2-7 in his last nine fights.


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