Dan Ige’s breakthrough season continued with a victory over Edson Barboza in UFC’s Fight Night on Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.
For the second time this year, Ige did just enough. He won a split decision with two 29-28 scores for him and one against in the UFC on ESPN bout. The Kahuku alum beat Mirsad Bektic by split decision in his previous bout in February.
Ige, 28, has now won six fights in a row and improved to 14-2 with eight stoppages. Barboza dropped to 20-9 after cutting 10 pounds to move down to featherweight.
“I proved I’m definitely a contender. I belong in there with the best guys,” Ige said in an interview posted on the UFC website. “I’m not going to be complacent just because I beat a guy like Edson. Now I’m going to have the real tests in front of me. Guys are going to start paying attention to who I am.”
In the main event, Walt Harris lost his first UFC fight since the death of his stepdaughter.
Alistair Overeem stopped Harris in the second round, ending what was an emotional return for the heavyweight fighter known as The Big Ticket.
Harris was a slight favorite and the sentimental choice as he entered the octagon for the first time since his 19-year-old daughter, Aniah Blanchard, was killed in Alabama.
Harris (13-8) pointed to the sky while showing off a “Fighting for Aniah” T-shirt as he walked into the arena. It appeared he would notch his 14th career knockout when he dropped Overeem (46-18) in the opening round. But the veteran regrouped and dominated the rest of the way.