Into the third round of their entertaining featherweight contest on the UFC 262 main card at the Toyota Center in Houston, Brazilian star Barboza stepped up the pace as he caught Burgos with a lightning-quick overhand right.
At first Burgos appeared to have eaten the punch as he remained on his feet, arms raised and in fighting pose. But it soon became evident that the blow had taken more of a toll than initially seemed, as a delayed reaction to the concussive strike kicked in and Burgos’ legs began to wobble.
Staggering backwards almost in slow motion, Burgos eventually collapsed, bouncing into the side of the cage and onto the canvas.
Barboza followed in for more strikes but it was evident his rival was already unconscious as the fight was waved off.
The odd finish was declared one of the strangest ever seen in the octagon.
“I’ve never seen anything like that in MMA. A delayed reaction KO… Shane is so tough his brain gave out before his will did. Amazing win for Barboza,” wrote pundit Laura Sanko.
“Holy smokes. Edson Barboza KOs Shane Burgos in the third. Delayed KO. That was wild. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an emphatic delay like that before. What is this sport?!” asked ESPN pundit Ariel Helwani.
“I really don’t understand,” Barboza said afterwards of the KO.
“I know I connected a good shot because I felt it, he started to shake a little bit, something happened, he go down, I was like, ‘OK, let’s go finish’.
“But I need to watch again because I really don’t know what happened.”
Footage afterwards showed the pair embracing backstage as Burgos appeared to have recovered from the savage shot he’d taken, although UFC boss Dana White later told reporters that the fighter had been taken to hospital for examination.
The win for Barboza, 35, improved his record to 22-9 and built on the momentum he earned with victory against Makwan Amirkhani in his last outing, which had snapped a three-fight losing streak.
For Burgos, 30, it was a second defeat on the spin after his loss to Josh Emmett last June. The American slipped to 13-3 overall in his professional career.
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