The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC Fight Night — Overeem vs. Harris

Edson Barboza UFC
Edson Barboza Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

The UFC returns to action this weekend with a Fight Night card on ESPN, featuring heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris. But it won’t be that heavyweight duo we have our eye on Friday morning at weigh-ins.

Like it or not, weight-cutting is deeply rooted in mixed martial arts. MMA adopted its weight-cutting from the sport of wrestling, where it is presumed to be very advantageous to be the biggest and strongest in your weight class. Known as the ‘fight before the fight,’ most UFC fighters cut anywhere from 5-25 pounds, with some fighters even in excess of 30 pounds.

Weight-cutting is the ultimate test of discipline and willpower. Many fighters in the sport consider it very unprofessional to miss weight. In this series, we will shine a light on fighters who cut a massive amount of weight, who have missed weight multiple times in the past, who have made weight-class changes, along with how the weight-cut and weigh-in could affect possible upcoming match-ups. Basically, every aspect of weight-cutting and how it affects the fight game.

Edson “Junior” Barboza (20-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs): 0-0 (UFC)

Lightweight (155lbs): 14-8 (UFC)

Edson Barboza is a long-time staple of the lightweight division. Edson’s spectacular kicks have always been something aspiring UFC lightweight titleholders must first find a way past. Barboza stands at 5’11”, with a 75″ reach, and he is 34 years old. Edson’s debut in the UFC was way back in 2010. All interesting stats for a fighter moving down in weight for the first time.

Dating back to 2017, Barboza has lost 4 of his last 5 fights against very high-level opponents. Edson’s last 5  fights were against Paul Felder, Justin Gaethje, Dan Hooker, Kevin Lee, and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Barboza desperately needs to get back into the win column, hence his move down to featherweight. Barboza has an amazing physique and doesn’t carry much fat so he will definitely be a fighter to watch on the scale for UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris in Jacksonville, FL.

Marlon “Chito” Vera  (17-5-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC)

Bantamweight (135lbs):  7-4 (UFC)

Catchweight (140lbs): 1-0 (UFC)

Featherweight (145lbs): 1-0 (UFC)

Marlon Vera has had one catchweight fight due to the short notice nature of the fight, and that was his third-round TKO over Brad Pickett in 2017. This catchweight bout took place at 140lbs. Vera’s lone featherweight fight was a unanimous decision win against Guangyou Ning back in November of 2016. Vera stands at 5’8″ and is currently 27 years old so it wouldn’t be too far of a reach to speculate that the weight cut down to 135lbs is beginning to become more difficult.

Vera is currently on a 5-fight win streak with all finishes dating back to mid-2018, so it’s going to be really interesting to see him move up in weight and put that win streak on the line at UFC Florida this weekend.