The final time Shane Burgos hit the octagon was two weeks earlier than the Fourth of July, when he and opponent Josh Emmett introduced out the fireworks early.
The two UFC featherweight contenders went quick and livid for quarter-hour, Burgos stalking and pressuring along with his typical high-volume hanging output and Emmett answering with heavy return fireplace. The motion escalated each spherical, with ever-increasing totals for strikes tried and landed and every leaving all of it on the market on the mat by the point the bout went the space at UFC Apex.
And whereas the bout is mostly acknowledged because the three-round combat of 2020, for Burgos (13-2, 10 finishes), neither that distinction nor his $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus is sufficient comfort for the truth that Emmett left along with his hand raised.
“I appreciate that everyone thought it was a good fight, and I’m happy that I’m able to do that and be that kind of fighter that people want to see fight, but I’m just so disappointed in myself after that last one, honestly,” Burgos, who grew up within the Monroe Houses in The Bronx, informed The Post over the cellphone on Tuesday.
While that combat didn’t go Burgos’ means, with all three judges seeing the razor-close first spherical and the lopsided third body — when he was twice knocked down by punches — for Emmett, the 30-year-old was in a position to parlay his spectacular effort in defeat right into a combat he’s genuinely enthusiastic about towards Edson Barboza. Their three-rounder is slated to open the UFC 262 pay-per-view primary card on Saturday in Houston, with Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler headlining to resolve who wins the vacant UFC light-weight title.
“This is like my world title fight,” Burgos says of the possibility to face Barboza, who final yr dropped all the way down to 145 kilos after a future of success at 155 kilos. “This is the biggest opportunity of my career, by far. That’s not to disrespect any other opponent, but everyone knows who Edson Barboza is. I’ve been watching this guy since I was in high school. He’s been in the title picture at lightweight forever.”
The loss to Emmett, which he feels he let “slip through my fingers” offered a invaluable lesson for Burgos: Don’t stray from the technique.
“I just got away from my game plan. I got way too caught up in the moment of that fight,” Burgos mentioned. “I knew how much of a back-and-forth fight it was, I knew how much fun I was having, and I got caught up in having fun instead of focusing on the task at hand.”
Chief among the many errors in strategy, in Burgos’ thoughts, was not taking higher benefit of his compromised opponent. About 25 seconds into the combat, Emmett’s left knee visibly gave out. A number of days after the combat, the winner revealed he had suffered the next: full anterior cruciate ligament tear, medial collateral ligament sprain with partial tearing, Baker’s cyst rupture, “focal impact fracture of femur on the lateral” and “chondral defect (cartilage) on tibia laterally matching impact area.”
Burgos landed 40 strikes to Emmett’s legs, many to the blown-out knee. But he maintains that the harm had little impact on his strategy, which he rues looking back.
“It should have [changed my strategy],” Burgos mentioned. “I don’t want to exploit a weakness or anything, but you kind of do, at the end of the day. His knee was bummed, and I should have been kicking the entire time. I should have just stuck with the low kick and just focused on that the entire time. But, like I said, I got caught up in the moment.”
While Emmett’s return to the octagon hinges on how effectively he can rehabilitate his collective knee accidents, Burgos mentioned he left with solely a minimize underneath his eye and was again within the fitness center coaching grappling by Monday, the day after getting dwelling from Las Vegas.
For Burgos, although, his restoration from the bout was extra of a psychological train.
“It was more mental, being so down and pissed at myself,” he mentioned.
With the disappointing end result behind him, Burgos, who earlier than sixth grade moved from the Monroe Houses to Orange County’s Monroe, N.Y., is “honored” for the opportunity to face such a venerable fighter within the 35-year-old Barboza (21-9, 13 finishes) on Saturday, figuring out what a win might do for his viability as a contender at featherweight. The New Yorker acquired goosebumps when he took the decision concerning the reserving,
Although he’s misplaced 5 of his previous seven, Barboza is coming off a transparent choice victory over Makwan Amirkhani in October and the earlier two losses — one at featherweight, the opposite at light-weight — got here through cut up choices that would simply have gone his means.
And whereas Barboza spent most of his profession at a heavier weight class, Burgos is among the many bigger featherweights on the UFC roster. At 5-foot-11 and with a big body, he admits he can weigh greater than 180 kilos between fights. His opponent is listed on the similar peak and will conceivably look like the marginally smaller man when the octagon door closes behind them on combat night time.
“This is exactly what I want. I want big fights like this, man,” says an energized Burgos. “These are the fights that wake you up in the morning; the fights that keep you up at night. These are the fights that make me get my ass on the treadmill, get those sprints on.”
Barboza’s bread and butter is his hanging, notably the way in which he assaults the legs and physique. Among his 12 (T)KOs are two from physique blows and three through leg kicks, plus a spectacular spinning wheel kick KO 9 years in the past throughout his rise from prospect to contender at 155 kilos. Just hours after touching down in Houston, Burgos was already bracing for his opponent’s spotlight reel to play all week within the leadup to their bout.
But the e-book on Barboza, a famous kicker, has been strain and never permitting the Brazilian to remain at his most popular distance are keys to victory. On paper, that traces up effectively for the aggressive Burgos, who ranks No. 4 all-time within the UFC in strikes landed per minute (7.31), in accordance with UFC Stats. Against Emmett, he landed 148 whole strikes for a mean of practically 10 a minute.
“Always forward: That’s my mentality,” Burgos mentioned. “That’s my life motto. I live by that: always forward. So as soon as the referee says ‘Go,’ I’m gonna be in his face from the first bell until the last bell.”