Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 81, we are going to see a pivotal matchup in the women’s flyweight division. Former title challenger Jennifer Maia (21-9-1) will look to continue her push back up towards title contention as she takes on Viviane Araujo (11-5).
Starting with Viviane Araujo, she really needs to pick up this win tomorrow night. When she first started with the UFC, she went 4-1 in her first five fights which got her into title contention. From there, she took on top contender Katlyn Chookagian and lost a decision.
Starting with that fight, she’s just 1-3 in her last four fights. Granted, it’s all been against very solid competition including current flyweight champion Alexa Grasso. Jennifer Maia presents a very difficult stylistic matchup for Araujo so it’s going to be a tough test for the Brazilian.
Back in 2020, Jennifer Maia submitted Joanne Wood to spoil her title shot and earn a shot of her own against Valentina Shevchenko. Maia ultimately lost her title shot but then bounced back well against Jessica Eye. After two losses to Katlyn Chookagian and Manon Fiorot, she’s bounced back strong with two straight wins including handing the first career loss to rising UFC contender Casey O’Neill.
UFC Vegas 81 Prediction
When it comes to this fight, it’s really going to come down to where it takes place. Jennifer Maia is sensational and very strong in her grappling. Viviane Araujo operates incredibly well from space and if the fight remains at distance, she has a very good chance of winning this fight.
While Jennifer Maia has made great progress in her striking, we know where she wants the fight at UFC Vegas 81. So, will Maia be able to get the fight to the ground or will Araujo keep it standing and win a striking battle? Personally, I don’t think Araujo is going to be able to keep it standing for the amount of time she’ll need it to.
I think Maia is going to get on the inside and use her strength to get the fight down. Araujo is going to have some success, but ultimately, I think Maia will do enough to implement her game plan and win a decision at UFC Vegas 81.
Prediction: Jennifer Maia by Decision