UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs. Barboza Predictions & Fight Picks

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UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs. Barboza takes place this weekend at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada – and we’ve got our UFC predictions for all the fights below.

UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs. Barboza Predictions

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Sodiq Yusuff vs. Edson Barboza

With six wins from his seven UFC appearances so far Sodiq Yusuff now goes up against Edson Barboza, who is coming off a 1st round KO win against Billy Quarantillo last time out.

Barboza’s striking prowess is well documented and so even though he’s approaching his 38th birthday and has lost more fights than he’s won in recent years he continues to be a dangerous fight for anyone in the division. He’s still fast and agile, delivering some of the most potent kicks in the game and backing that up with impactful boxing and damaging knees.

Barboza’s remains quite durable given all the wars he’s been in over the years, but at his age there is always that feeling he could decline rapidly, and after all these years he still doesn’t have many strings to his bow beyond his stand-up ability.

The 30-year-old Yusuff is an assured striker with composed technique, very good speed in both his strikes and footwork, and notable power in his punches and kicks. Meanwhile, his ground game isn’t his strong suit, but he’s willing to use it if necessary and has more to offer there than Barboza.

If this was Barboza in his prime, then I’d likely be leaning towards him here. At this stage in his career in a five-round fight against another talented striker who is younger and been in less wars I’ll take Yusuff to eek out a closely fought decision victory.

Prediction: Sodiq Yusuff to win by decision.

Jennifer Maia vs. Viviane Araujo

Jennifer Maia has claimed back-to-back decision wins in the past 12 months, while conversely Viviane Araujo has suffered two losses in a row over the same period.

Maia is a sturdy Muay Thai striker who is unlikely to dazzle her opponents with her speed or stopping power, but has good fundamental technique, applies pressure and is durable too. She also benefits from being quite well-rounded and can make use of the clinch to control her opponents and will hunt for submissions on the mat too.

Araujo is the more naturally athletic of the two and has a 4″ reach advantage too. Like Maia, Araujo can keep things competitive whether on the feet or on the mat. She can piece combinations together nicely on the feet and will mix things up by seeking takedown opportunities too. She’s approaching her 37th birthday next month though and it does feel as if she has been showing signs of losing some of her speed and energy-levels in recent outings.

Overall, I think this is quite a close, well-matched fight, but while Maia isn’t too much younger than Araujo I think she’s the more solid, dependable fighter at this stage and will keep a good work-rate and make full use of her grinding clinch game to earn a decision victory.

Prediction: Jennifer Maia to win by decision.

Jonathan Martinez vs. Adrian Yanez

Jonathan Martinez comes into this one riding a four-fight winning streak, while Adrian Yanez’s own five-fight unbeaten run in the UFC came to an end last time out with a TKO loss against Rob Font.

Both fighters here are very talented strikers who are so closely matched that they also happen to be the same age, height and have identical reach.

Martinez is a calculated striker with good speed and timing who works at range behind hard low kicks, but he also has a nice jab and will mix his punches in with his kicks well at times as well as having dangerous knees at closer range.

Yanez is more focused on his technical boxing, closing the distance well and attacking in volume with fast, hard-hitting combinations to the head and body.  It’s a style that can lead to him being hit too at times though by sharp strikers who are not overawed by his offensive onslaughts.

It’s an intriguing fight then, with Martinez being better at range with his kicks and more diverse striking arsenal, while Yanez is very potent at close quarters with his punching power and fast, high output style. It really could go either way, but I think Yanez’s pressure will make it difficult for Martinez to consistently keep the fight at his range, and his more damaging blows in close will help him battle his way to a decision victory.

Prediction: Adrian Yanez to win by decision.

Michel Pereira vs. Andre Petroski

Michel Pereira is currently on a five-fight winning streak and was set to fight Stephen Thompson recently until he botched his weight cut and had to withdraw. Then he was assigned to this card up at middleweight to face Marc Andre Barriault, only for his opponent to drop out, leaving Andre Petroski to step in on less than a week’s notice.

Pereira is a Swiss-army knife style of MMA striker who draws on his karate, capoeira and Muay Thai background to throw all kinds of creative and acrobatic offense. The impressive thing is that he’s had a good amount of success landing these exotic, eye-catching techniques over the years and constructed an impressive highlight-reel along the way.

However, he found the going tougher after joining the UFC, and had a habit of gassing out when his ever-changing array of explosive attacks failed to pay off. To his credit though, Pereira has shown the ability to evolve, becoming a more patient, calculated kickboxer and even shown a promising ground game, with the result being a solid winning streak that’s made him a credible contender for a spot on the rankings.

A former TUF semi-finalist, Petroski has also been in fine form, having won all five of his fights in the Octagon so far, culminating with decision victories over Wellington Turman and Gerald Meerschaert in the past year. The physically strong Petroski is a decent striker, but wrestling is his best weapon, backed up with some submissions on top and ground-and-pound, so I doubt he’ll have much interest in the stand-up action here.

I’m taking Pereira here to win on the scorecards as he has the benefit of a full fight camp behind him and a sizeable striking advantage against a hittable opponent, but that’s assuming he does continue to fight in the more controlled fashion he has been doing lately since overcommitting to risky strikes would open opportunities for Petroski to land the takedowns he’ll be hunting for.

Prediction: Michel Pereira to win by decision.

Edgar Chairez vs. Daniel da Silva

These two fought just a few weeks ago, but the fight-ending standing-guillotine choke in the opening round by Chairez was highly controversial due to the ref believing that da Silva was unconscious, despite his immediate insistence afterwards that he wasn’t. In the end the fight was declared a no-contest due to a premature stoppage and so now they are running it back.

This feels like a bit of a stay-of-execution as if da Silva wasn’t out at the moment the fight was called, he almost certainly would have been soon after or been forced to tap. And if so, that would have been da Silva’s fifth loss in a row since joining the UFC, with all coming via either strikes or submission.

Chairez has yet to really prove he is worthy of his spot on the roster either, but I do think that his mix of striking and jiu-jitsu will be enough to overcome the entertaining but flawed da Silva’s early offense surge and wrestling here, leading to a more definitive submission finish this time around by the second round after his opponent runs out of steam.

Prediction: Edgar Chairez to win by submission in Rd2.

Christian Rodriguez vs. Cameron Saaiman

Christian Rodriguez will aim to pick up his third win in a row when he fights Cameron Saaiman, who remains undefeated at 9-0 after winning his first three bouts in the Octagon.

Saaiman’s record is even more impressive when you consider that he’s also a former South African K-1 kickboxing champ yet is still only 22-years-old. He’s a talented, athletic striker with an aggressive style and good power, though it would be good to see him smooth out his style to find a better balance between full-on offense and defence.  Meanwhile, to his credit Saaiman has also proven to be capable on the mat too, which bodes well for his future.

Rodriguez is the older of the two, but still only 25-years-old himself, and has experience in dealing with up-and-coming prospects, having handed the 18-year-old Raul Rosas Jr his first career loss in his last Octagon appearance. He’s a solid all-rounder who can strike, wrestle and grapple comfortably. On the feet he’ll be aided by a 4″ reach advantage, and while not as active as Saaiman he’s a bit more composed with a nice jab and solid low kick. He also has dependable cardio and is a submission threat on the mat.

This is a good test for both men, but while Rodriguez is durable and well-rounded, I do feel that Saaiman has the greater potential and more spark to his work, so I’ll take him to edge out a competitive fight to win on the scorecards.

Prediction: Cameron Saaiman to win by decision.

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UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs. Barboza Prelims

(Predicted winners in bold)

Darren Elkins vs. T.J. Brown

Irina Alekseeva vs. Melissa Dixon

Tainara Lisboa vs. Ravena Oliveira

Chris Gutierrez vs. Alatengheili

Terrance McKinney vs. Brendan Marotte

Emily Ducote vs. Ashley Yoder

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About Ross Cole

Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process. You can read more of Ross's work at MMAInsight.com.