UFC Fight Night 230 takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Sodiq Yusuff vs. Edson Barboza
Sodiq Yusuff has won six of his seven UFC bouts so far and now goes up against Edson Barboza who claimed a 1st round KO victory over Billy Quarantillo in his last fight.
Barboza is revered for his technical striking ability, having some of the most deadly kicks in the game, while his punches and knees are also potential fight-enders. At almost 38-years-old he still somehow remains fast and agile and while not in his prime is still fairly durable. That being said, he has suffered more losses than wins in recent times and given all his battles over the years it’s surely only a matter of time before he starts to show more significant signs of decline.
Meanwhile, the 30-year-old Yusuff is a confident and composed striker with excellent speed and very good power in his strikes. He has fast footwork, crisp technique, and while it’s not his strong suit he can also operate on the mat and certainly has more to offer than Barboza in that regard.
Even though Barboza isn’t at the peak of his abilities any more he’s still a very challenging opponent for Yusuff here. So much so that I’m half-tempted to pick him here, but I do think the fact Yusuff is in his still in his prime years and has less miles on the clock will favor him in what’s likely to be a tough battle from start to finish that he emerges from with a narrow decision victory.
Pick: Sodiq Yusuff wins by decision.
Jennifer Maia vs. Viviane Araujo
Jennifer Maia has won two fights in a row over the past 12 months, while on the other hand Viviane Araujo needs to bounce back after suffering back-to-back losses.
Maia is certainly not the most fleet-of-foot or hard-hitting muay thai striker, but she makes up for her lack of athleticism by having solid fundamentals, applying constant pressure and making good use of the clinch to control opponents. She also has good durability and poses a threat via submissions on the mat too.
On the other hand, Araujo has a 4″ reach advantage and looks to make the most of her natural athleticism. She is fast and can put together combinations on the feet, while also looking out for takedown opportunities too. However, she is now almost 37 and recent performances suggest that she might be slowing down, and as a result is losing some of her effectiveness in the Octagon.
Maia isn’t too much younger than Araujo, but since her success is not tied so much to her athletic ability I think she’s the more reliable fighter here and will be able to outwork her opponent and make good use of her strength in the clinch to grind out a decision win.
Pick: Jennifer Maia wins by decision.
Jonathan Martinez vs. Adrian Yanez
Jonathan Martinez has been picking up steam during his four-fight unbeaten run, while Adrian Yanez managed to go on a five-fight winning streak recently before losing by TKO last time out.
This is a very well matched fight, right down to the fact that not only are they both skilled strikers, but they are also the same age, height, weight and reach too.
Martinez is a clean, calculating stand-up technician who has particularly good low kicks, but is also fast and has good timing when throwing punches or initiating knee strikes at closer range.
Yanez has a less diverse striking arsenal, but his focus on his technical boxing, closing the distance quickly and landing fast, hard and high-volume combination work to the head and body has proven to be very effective.
It’ll be really interesting to see who comes out on top here. Martinez’s low kicks could be a big factor and there’s a chance he finds a way to use Yanez’s aggression against him by finding openings to exploit with his good fight IQ. That being said, I do think that Yanez’s constant pressure and hard-hitting offense will make it difficult for Yanez to keep the fight at the distance he’d prefer and will enable him to eek out a very competitive decision victory.
Pick: Adrian Yanez wins by decision.
Michel Pereira vs. Andre Petroski
Michel Pereira has been making his mark after winning five fights in a row, but suffered a hitch last time out when a botched weight cut led to him being withdrawn from a fight with Stephen Thompson. He was then lined up to face Marc Andre Barriault up at middleweight on this card, but after his opponent dropped out he now faces Andre Petroski on less than a week’s notice.
Pereira is best known for his impressively acrobatic striking technique that blends his backgrounds in karate, capoeira and muay thai to deliver spectacular moves that you rarely ever see outside of movies. And he’s actually had a respectable amount of success in making that work for him, at least outside the UFC. However, against better opposition in the Octagon it became apparent that it was more difficult to make that style work and he’d tend to gas himself out in the process.
That could have been the end of the story, but Pereira has done well to change things up, reigning in his wilder instincts considerably to become more of a calculated kickboxer with a more consistent, manageable output that’s better designed for winning fights rather than just adding to his highlight-reel, and as an added bonus his ground game has shown some promise too.
Petroski reached the semi-finals of TUF Season 29 and has since gone on to win five fights in a row. He’s a strong 185lb’er who can strike to an extent, but prefers to focus on his primary asset, which is his wrestling ability, which opens up opportunities for ground-an-pound and submissions on top.
Petroski doesn’t have the best cardio though and coming in on short notice I think it’s going to be hard for him to keep a livewire like Pereira on the mat for 15 minutes. Instead, if Pereira continues in his more controlled fashion of late and doesn’t overcommit on his strikes than I think he can keep this one upright and use his speed, movement and striking ability to pick apart his opponent to win by decision.
Pick: Michel Pereira wins by decision.
Edgar Chairez vs. Daniel da Silva
A controversial end to their previous fight just a few weeks ago that saw the referee bring a premature end to the proceedings after mistakenly believing Daniel Da Silva had been choked unconscious by Edgar Chairez during a standing guillotine attempt has led to an immediate rematch between the two.
In all fairness I though da Silva was on the verge of being finished anyway, and if so that would have been his fifth loss in a row since joining the UFC, with all the others coming by way of either strikes or submission.
Despite that da Silva continues to hold a spot on the roster, perhaps mainly for the fact that he’s an entertaining fighter to watch since he goes all out on the attack from the opening bell in pursuit of a finish.
It’s a style that’s just not paying off for him though, and while Chairez isn’t exactly a proven fighter in the UFC yet either I think his better striking and jiu-jitsu will enable him to ride out the early onslaught and wrestling threat from da Silva, before going on to submit his tiring opponent in the second round.
Pick: Edgar Chairez to win by submission in Rd2.
Christian Rodriguez vs. Cameron Saaiman
After back-to-back wins Christian Rodriguez now squares up to undefeated prospect Cameron Saaiman, who has won all three of his UFC fights so far to extend his career record to 9-0.
Saaiman is only 22-years-old, yet he’s also been a South African K-1 kickboxing champion prior to making a strong impression in MMA. He’s talented and athletic, but perhaps not quite as technical as you might expect, instead favoring an aggressive approach with good power that can overwhelm his opponents. It would be good to see him refining that style to become a a bit more measured in his work, but to his credit along with his striking ability he also looks to be developing a respectable ground game.
Rodriguez is only 25 himself and has already shown he can handle an up-and-coming prospect by beating the 18-year-old Raul Rosas Jr last time out. He’s a solid all-rounder who will be aided by a 4″ reach advantage here. He’s more composed than Saaimon, and though that makes him less active he has a nice jab and works low kicks well. He can also wrestle and work for submissions, while his cardio is good too.
Overall I feel Saaimon is the more dangerous striker here and appears to have the higher ceiling of the two fighters, so I’m taking him to win a hard-fought decision here.
Pick: Cameron Saaiman wins by decision.
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