SACRAMENTO – In a contest to see who could take it as well as they could dish it out, Edson Barboza just barely edged out Danny Castillo in a gritty, bloody battle that nearly saw the Brazilian finished in the first round.

Instead, Barboza held on and rebounded for a majority-decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-28) by the slimmest of margins.

The lightweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC on FOX 9 event at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following an additional prelim on MMAjunkie and ahead of the main card on FOX.

Castillo initially seemed to be headed for a short night of work after hurting Barboza with punches early, then nearly locking on a rear-naked choke in the first round. After some ground-and-pound cut Barboza open, however, Castillo may have spent too much energy looking for the finish.

When Barboza came out for the second, he looked as fresh as ever, and soon he was the one who looked to be within a punch or two of a finish after hurting Castillo with brutal body kicks and a vicious hook.

Castillo survived, but Barboza was still the fresher fighter in the third, which likely made the difference. While one judge scored it a draw based on the strength of Castillo’s 10-8 first round, the other two gave it to Barboza.

“I really felt his power in that first round,” Barboza said. “I was just trying to survive to get to a new round. Castillo is very tough and I expected a war. He caught me, obviously, but I felt fine. My corner told me after the first round I needed to win the next two rounds, so that’s what I did.”

“Fighting in Sacramento was everything I thought it was going to be,” Castillo said. “It was a dream come true because I was born and raised here, and I love Sacramento. I just didn’t get the result I was hoping for.”

Barboza (13-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) has now won three straight, bouncing back from the only loss of his career against Jamie Varner at UFC 146. Castillo (16-6 MMA, 6-3 UFC) loses for the first time since October of 2012, snapping a two-fight winning streak.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on FOX 9 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 9, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

John Morgan and Steven Marrocco contributed to this report on-site in Sacramento.

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