UFC Vegas 81 Main Event Preview: Edson Barboza – Sodiq Yusuff

Apr 15, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Edson Barboza (red gloves) reacts after the fight against Billy Quarantillo (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at T-Mobile Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 81, we are going to see a big time matchup in the featherweight division. Two of the more entertaining contenders at 145 will battle it out as Edson Barboza (23-11) takes on “Super” Sodiq Yusuff (13-2).

This is a big time spot for Edson Barboza who is looking to climb back up the rankings. He will make the walk as the 13th ranked contender at 145 and he’s looking to take Yusuff’s spot just outside the top ten at 11. In his last performance, he looked incredibly knocking out Billy Quarantillo in the first round.

Standing across from Barboza is Yusuff. Yusuff has won back-to-back fights including a 30-second submission win over Don Shainis that took place just over a year ago. With Yusuff, there’s never been questions surrounding his talent. However, he’s had a real struggle staying healthy.

He earned his UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series. After winning his first four fights in the promotion, he took on Arnold Allen and lost by a decision. However, in the last two and a half years since that loss to Allen, he’s only fought twice. He’s hoping to get a win over Barboza and be more active in 2024.

UFC Vegas 81 Prediction

When looking at this fight, I think we are going to see a very entertaining striking battle. We all know about the kicks and fast offense of Edson Barboza. We also know about the boxing and clean technique of Sodiq Yusuff. So, who is going to win out in this one?

With Barboza, you have to be aggressive. You cannot give him space to operate because that is when he’s going to pick you apart from the outside. With Yusuff, I worry a bit about whether or not he’ll be aggressive enough. Especially given the layoff, I could see him being too passive early which could hurt him really bad at UFC Vegas 81.

I expect both men to be technical and I’m not sure we are going to see a finish. While so many things are on the side of Yusuff such as youth, I’m leaning towards Barboza in this one. I think he’s on a mission and will look great tomorrow winning his first main event.

Prediction: Edson Barboza by Decision

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