UFC Vegas 81: Yusuff vs. Barboza Staff Picks
A slower week for MMASucka staff picks sees a quietly stacked event on the horizon.
Taking place later tonight, October 14th sees UFC Vegas 81, also titled as UFC Fight Night 230, set for action from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fights begin with prelims at 4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT) and the main card at 7:00pm ET (4:00pm PT) with all fights available to ESPN+ subscribers.
Stay locked in here at MMASucka for results from UFC Vegas 81: Yusuff vs. Barboza.
Two featherweights looking to break their way into their divisional top ten see Sodiq Yusuff and Edson Barboza set for five rounds in the night’s main event. Former Titan FC title challenger and Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Yusuff has won all but one of his seven fights in the promotion dropping a unanimous decision to Arnold Allen in the spring of 2021. Tonight’s fight will be his first fight in over a year following a successful 2022 with victories over Alex Caceres by decision and then-newcomer Don Shainis by guillotine choke in just 30 seconds. Yusuff’s opponent, Barboza, brings the octagon experience with his a UFC career dating back to November of 2010. With 19 post-fight bonus awards, will and grit are to be expected from the standup talent as the Brazilian favorite avoided three consecutive losses in his April outing with a first-round knockout opposite Billy Quarantillo.
In the co-main event, Jennifer Maia and Viviane Araujo will meet in an important fight for the women’s flyweight division. Former Invicta FC Champion and UFC title competitor Maia continues to represent Chute Boxing Academy searching for her third straight win since last November. Her opponent, former Pancrase Strawweight Champion Araujo, rides opposite momentum hoping to snap a two-fight skid that saw decision losses to now-champion Alexa Grasso last year and Amanda Ribas in March.
29-year-old bantamweights Jonathan Martinez and Adrian Yanez will meet on the main card with Martinez aiming for a fifth consecutive win and Yanez rebounding following a knockout loss in April to Rob Font.
Two additional fights compose the awaiting main card including the always unpredictable Michel Pereira and undefeated South African youthful Cameron Saaiman against their respected opponents of former Art of War Middleweight Champion Andre Petroski and three-fight UFC competitor Christian Rodriguez. At weigh-ins, Rodriguez missed the bantamweight mark by four pounds, but his fight with Saaiman will go on as planned losing a piece of his purse.
A pairing between Edgar Chairez and Daniel Lacerda was intended to take place on the main card and for our picks but was cancelled after Lacerda suffered medical issues and forced out of the fight. See our staff picks and predictions for these UFC Vegas 81: Yusuff vs. Barboza fights further below.
We got a banger coming our way tomorrow 🔥@Super_Sodiq vs @EdsonBarbozaJR in the #UFCVegas81 main event!
[ 4pmET / 1pmPT card start | Live on ESPN+ ] pic.twitter.com/yFaXkPpTJb
— UFC (@ufc) October 13, 2023
2023 Staff Picks
MMASucka staff picks are composed of five promotions: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). UFC and Bellator events feature picks from only main cards. PFL will feature select fights from the main and/or preliminary card while DWCS sees all fights counted from the event. ONE Championship returns to picks for the first time since 2020 and will feature only mixed martial arts (MMA) fights selected from cards with a minimum three matchups.
The WINNER of staff picks at the end of 2023, who picked the most victorious fighters, will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. Staff picks in 2022 was won by Wesley Riddle with a record of 264-135.
In the final promotional event of the year, who wins and who is picked to win by the MMASucka crew at Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 7, Week 10?
Staff Records after Dana White’s Contender Series – Season 7, Week 10:
1. Ben Jamieson: 260-1322. Michael DeSantis: 254-1343T. Jeremy Brand: 249-1433T. Nate Freeman: 249-1435. Wesley Riddle: 247-1456. Frazer Krohn: 234-1527. Julio Monteros Jr.: 212-1198. Andrew Benjamin: 186-1569. Jack Goodwillie: 148-8310. Brian Knight: 140-8411. Tim Wheaton: 105-6012. Roemello Reyes: 62-3413. Jonathan Andrade: 31-2414. Brandon Joint: 12-915. Andrew Harbaugh: 10-716. Joshua Yule: 7-617. Chris De Santiago: 6-618. Antwyn Jackson: 5-6
*Note – not all staff pick for every event*
Christian Rodriguez (9-1), -148vs.Cameron Saaiman (9-0), +124
Bantamweight Division– 135 LBS. ~ 61.2 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Rodriguez via Round 3 TKOWesley Riddle: Saaiman via Round 3 TKOMichael DeSantis: Saaiman via Unanimous DecisionFrazer Krohn: Saaiman via Unanimous DecisionNate Freeman: Rodriguez via Split DecisionJulio Monteros Jr.: Saaiman via Unanimous DecisionBen Jamieson: Rodriguez via Round 2 TKO
Staff picking Rodriguez: 2Staff picking Saaiman: 4
Andre Petroski (10-2), +164vs.Michel Pereira (28-11, 2 NC), -198
Middleweight Division– 185 LBS. ~ 83.9 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Pereira via Unanimous DecisionWesley Riddle: Pereira via Split DecisionMichael DeSantis: Petroski via Unanimous DecisionFrazer Krohn: Pereira via Split DecisionNate Freeman: Pereira via Round 2 TKOJulio Monteros Jr.: Pereira via Unanimous DecisionBen Jamieson: Pereira via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Petroski: 1Staff picking Pereira: 6
Jonathan Martinez (18-4), -115vs.Adrian Yanez (16-4), -105
Catchweight Bout– 140 LBS. ~ 63.5 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Martinez via Round 2 TKOWesley Riddle: Martinez via Split DecisionMichael DeSantis: Yanez via Split DecisionFrazer Krohn: Yanez via Unanimous DecisionNate Freeman: Yanez via Split DecisionJulio Monteros Jr.: Yanez via Unanimous DecisionBen Jamieson: Martinez via Round 1 SUB
Staff picking Martinez: 3Staff picking Yanez: 4
Jennifer Maia (21-9-1), -155vs.Viviane Araujo (11-5), +130
Women’s Flyweight Division– Co-Main Event –– 125 LBS. ~ 56.7 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Maia via Unanimous DecisionWesley Riddle: Maia via Split DecisionMichael DeSantis: Maia via Unanimous DecisionFrazer Krohn: Maia via Unanimous DecisionNate Freeman: Maia via Split DecisionJulio Monteros Jr.: Maia via Unanimous DecisionBen Jamieson: Maia via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Maia: 7Staff picking Araujo: 0
Sodiq Yusuff (13-2), -166vs.Edson Barboza (23-11), +140
Bantamweight Division– Main Event –– 145 LBS. ~ 65.8 KG. –
Jeremy Brand: Yusuff via Unanimous DecisionWesley Riddle: Barboza via Round 2 TKOMichael DeSantis: Yusuff via Unanimous DecisionFrazer Krohn: Yusuff via Round 4 TKONate Freeman: Yusuff via Unanimous DecisionJulio Monteros Jr.: Yusuff via Round 2 TKOBen Jamieson: Yusuff via Round 3 TKO
Staff picking Yusuff: 6Staff picking Barboza: 1
UFC VEGAS 81 FEATURED IMAGE:
Embed from Getty Images