Vicente Luque has been on a torrid run inside the Octagon, but Sunday’s knockout win over Bryan Barberena at UFC on ESPN 1 might be his best ever.
Luque stood toe-to-toe with Barberena for nearly 15 minutes, each landing hellacious punches and elbows to the head and body. Both men were battered and bloodied, and neither dared take a step backward. However, with precious seconds remaining in the third and possibly behind on the cards, Luque unfurled two consecutive knees to Barberena’s face before knocking him out with punches in spectacular fashion.
It was a fight for the ages, one that will certainly remain a contender for “Fight of the Year” by the end of December. Luque admitted that he felt he needed to do something drastic near the end of the third because of how close the fight was.
“I felt the fight was very close, I wasn’t sure I was taking it in the third round, I didn’t want to leave it to the judges,” he said after the battle. “He was a tough guy, I tried the rear naked choke and D’Arce and he got out of them both, so I knew I had to knock him out. So I got those knees in and got it done.”
The logical question to a winner always is who he or she wants to fight next. Rather than calling out the reigning champion at welterweight, “The Silent Assassin” has his sights on someone else, someone who doesn’t have a belt but would make for an excellent showdown.
“I have my eyes on Neil Magny right now, he’s a tough guy and a ranked guy, so I would love to fight him,” he stated. “I have no doubt I deserve a ranked guy. I have eight wins now in the UFC, all by knock out or submission. Usually I win at the beginning of the fight but now I showed I can go three rounds, so I’m ready for anyone.”
Luque has won four in a row and eight of nine overall, all by stoppage. Provided he gets Magny next and he is triumphant, he will certainly inch that much closer to a world title shot. But the Brazilian is realistic and knows he has to be patient, especially in a division as deep and deadly as welterweight.