Raoni Barcelos is gunning for a ranked opponent after winning an absolute slugfest with Khalid Taha at UFC Vegas 13.
When he heads back home to Brazil, Barcelos will probably deal with some sore hands and feet after dishing out a lot of punishment over three rounds but Taha just refused to go away. In the end, Barcelos still picked up his fifth straight win in the UFC after all three judges scored the fight 30-27 in his favor.
“It’s been a war this fight,” Barcelos explained. “I couldn’t have my father in the corner, my coach Pedro Rizzo couldn’t come. But I’m so happy that I came out with the win. I knew he was a good striker but I was ready for everything.”
There was no feeling out period with Barcelos going after Taha aggressively as soon as he was released from the corner. Barcelos established a nasty leg kick early that saw him put Taha down to the canvas a couple of times in the opening round.
Once he got comfortable on the feet, Barcelos really started throwing punches in succession as well as a brutal series of knees after locking his hands behind Taha’s head. Just when it looked like he was going to overwhelm Taha, the German fighter began winging punches in return and a couple of them connected flush, which forced Barcelos to back off.
Avoiding the wild exchanges as the fight moved forward allowed Barcelos to largely remain in control as he focused on chopping down Taha with those kicks to the legs and then going back up top with the punches. The constant pressure paid off with just seconds remaining in the second round as Barcelos rattled Taha with a punch and he followed up with a huge knee strike and a barrage of punches that nearly earned him the finish.
Time ran out before he could put Taha away but Barcelos was quick to employ a similar strategy as the third and final round got started. Still despite absorbing a lot of damage, Taha was happy to take a shot to return fire with one of his own and he kept coming until the fight came to a close.
The 15 minute war tested both men but Barcelos was definitely the more dominant fighter, which helped him take the unanimous decision victory.
With a 16-1 record overall including an undefeated run this far in his UFC career, Barcelos is hoping to for a ranked opponent in his next fight as he looks to jump into the deep end of a dangerous bantamweight division.
“I don’t like to ask too much,” Barcelos said about what he wants next. “I think I did enough to get a top 5, top 10 contender.”