UFC Fight Night Results: Edson Barboza defeats Sodiq Yusuff in a fight of the year contender
On Saturday evening, the UFC held a Fight Night event from the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card was headlined by a featherweight bout between the eleventh-ranked Sodiq Yusuff, and the twelfth-ranked Edson Barboza. Yusuff has had an impressive run since making his UFC debut in 2018, compiling a total record of 6-1 in the promotion, and was looking to secure what would be his biggest victory yet here in the main event slot against Barboza. While Barboza came into this fight as the lower-ranked fighter, Barboza is no stranger to fighting the best that the sport has to offer, and thirteen years into his run in the UFC, Barboza continues to be one of the most dangerous fighters in the featherweight division. In the co-main event, former UFC Flyweight title challenger, Jennifer Maia, looked to extend her current win streak against Viviane Araujo.
The commentary team for this card consisted of Brendan Fitzgerald, Michael Bisping, and Dominick Cruz. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Jonathan Martinez and Michel Pereira. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Edson Barboza and Sodiq Yusuff.
- Emily Ducote def. Ashley Yoder by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Chris Gutierrez def. Alatengheili by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
- Melissa Dixon def. Irena Alekseeva by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Terrance McKinney def. Brendon Marotte by TKO at 0:20 of Round 1
- Tainara Lisboa def. Ravena Oliveira by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
- Darren Elkins def. T.J. Brown by rear naked choke at 2:23 of Round 3
- Christian Rodriguez def. Cameron Saaiman by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Michel Pereira def. Andre Petroski by TKO at 1:06 of Round 1
- Jonathan Martinez def. Adrian Yanez by TKO at 2:26 of Round 2
- Viviane Araujo def. Jennifer Maia by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
- Edson Barboza def. Sodiq Yusuff by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-46, 48-46)
ASHLEY YODER (8-8, 115.5) VS EMILY DUCOTE (12-8, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
Ducote cracked Yoder with a solid right hand roughly a minute into the fight, prompting Yoder to flurry forward with a short combination of strikes. Another right hand from Ducote found its target as Yoder stepped in, and Ducote certainly seemed to have the advantage in terms of power over Yoder, although Yoder continued to look for her own offence, finding some success with her straight left hands. In the final minute of the round, Yoder landed a solid head kick, but Ducote was able to just eat the strike, and she flurried forward in response, before ending the round with a takedown. 10-9 Ducote.
Ducote continued to find success on the feet in the second round, landing her strikes while avoiding Yoder’s attempts to take the fight into the clinch. Ducote caught a kick at one point and tripped Yoder to the ground, but she allowed Yoder back to her feet, seemingly comfortable with how the fight had been playing out on the feet. Yoder started fighting with more aggression as the round wore on, looking to create some offense, and while this led to a measure of success, it also provided Ducote with more opportunities to counter Yoder on her way in. Yoder attempted to end the round with a takedown, as Ducote did in the first, but Ducote defended the attempt before the horn sounded. 20-18 Ducote.
Yoder landed a series of knees to the body of Ducote in the clinch, before landing an elbow as the fighters broke apart. Ducote’s boxing was giving Yoder trouble throughout their striking exchanges, as Ducote was just sharper with her striking, landing solid hooks to the head and body with power, while Yoder was not landing at quite the same rate, nor with the same power. Yoder really brought the fight to Ducote throughout the round, but Ducote was just a step ahead of her, and I scored this round in her favor as well. 30-27 Ducote.
WINNER: Emily Ducote by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Ducote was the more skillful striker, and while Yoder did a good job of pressing forward and creating opportunities for herself, Ducote was just a step ahead of her, countering strongly, while regularly out-landing Yoder by striking in combination. Yoder attempted to use her height advantage by trapping Ducote in the clinch, but Ducote was largely able to avoid these exchanges, while consistently doing the better work throughout their striking exchanges. It was a solid performance from Ducote, who was a sizeable favorite going into this bout, and she is now 2-2 in the UFC following this win.
CHRIS GUTIERREZ (19-5-2, 136) VS ALATENGHEILI (16-8-2, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Alatengheili pressed forward for the vast majority of the round, while Gutierrez kept on the backfoot, avoiding the majority of Alatengheili’s strikes. Gutierrez attacked the body and lead leg of Alatengheili with kicks, attacks that began to add up as the round progressed. Alatengheli was head hunting, and as a result, he did not find much success offensively throughout this opening round, allowing Gutierrez to pull ahead in the round based largely on his edge in activity. 10-9 Gutierrez.
Gutierrez did not switch up strategies in the second round, as he continued to control the range and pick Alatengheili apart with kicks to the leg and body. Alatengheili did his best to surge forward and land some of his heavy swings, but Gutierrez was able to get out of the way nearly every time, leaving Alatengheili to swing at the air. Gutierrez had landed well over thirty leg kicks by the final minute of the second round, and they were winning him this fight because Alatengheili was just not finding enough success offensively to match Gutierrez’s output or his damage. 20-18 Gutierrez.
The leg kicks from Gutierrez was really bothering Alatengheili by this point in the fight, but he did his best to fight through the damage. Alatengheili pressured forward, looking to land those heavy strikes, but Gutierrez’s footwork continued to trouble Alatengheili in this third round, leaving Alatengheili largely unable to find his range. Alatengheili eventually changed levels as he attempted to take the fight to the ground, and while he was successful, Gutierrez quickly escaped to his feet. Alatengheili secured one more takedown just before time expired, but it was too late to earn him the round. 30-27 Chris Gutierrez.
WINNER: Chris Gutierrez by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Gutierrez was originally scheduled to fight Montel Jackson a week prior to this card, but after Jackson was forced to withdraw from their fight, Gutierrez was moved to this card, where Alatengheli agreed to face him on rather short notice. Despite the circumstances, I thought that Alatengheili showcased an impressive level of cardio by pressing forward for the better part of fifteen minutes here, however, Gutierrez’s footwork was too much for him. Gutierrez avoided nearly all of Alatengheili’s big swings throughout the fight, while landing countless leg kicks to keep himself clearly ahead on the scorecards throughout every round. It was not the most entertaining strategy from Gutierrez, but it was certainly an effective one, and he pulled himself back into the win column after a loss to Pedro Munhoz in his last bout.
IRINA ALEKSEEVA (5-1, 135) VS MELISSA DIXON (5-0, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Dixon worked her jab early in the fight, while Alekseeva looked to throw hooks around the guard of her opponent. Both fighters were landing with power whenever they set their feet and threw hooks, but it was largely the jabs from Dixon that were keeping her ahead of Alekseeva on the feet throughout the opening minutes of the fight. Eventually, a straight right hand from Alekseeva dropped Dixon hard, and the fight went to the ground as Alekseeva looked to capitalize on the knockdown. Dixon quickly reversed the positioning and eventually took the back of Alekseeva, where she threw upward elbows until time expired in the round. 10-9 Alekseeva.
Dixon began the second round with an effective double jab. The straight right hands from Dixon were doing damage as well, knocking Alekseeva’s head back whenever she threw them, and eventually, Dixon took Alekseeva down with ease after landing a heavy one. Dixon took full mount on the ground, before taking the back of Alekseeva. Dixon locked in a body triangle and started hunting for a rear naked choke. She was unable to find the submission, but maintained top position for the remainder of the round, clearly taking this one on the scorecards. 19-19.
Alekseeva came out swinging in the third round, but she was looking extremely tired. Alekseeva fought through her exhaustion, opening up some cuts on the face of Dixon, and when Dixon looked to take the fight back to the ground, Alekseeva tossed her down with a judo throw. This is where Dixon’s edge in cardio proved advantageous, as she quickly worked her way back to the feet before completing the takedown that she was looking for earlier, and Dixon started throwing down ground and pound strikes from top position. Dixon dominated the fight on the ground until time expired, and likely did enough to earn this round as well. 29-28 Dixon.
WINNER: Melissa Dixon by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Alekseeva seemed to have the edge in terms of power, and she was doing considerable damage whenever she landed cleanly, but Dixon’s striking was considerably more technical, and he was able to stay a step ahead of Alekseeva on the feet by working her jab, throwing in the occasional straight right hand as well. As the bout progressed, Alekseeva really began to fatigue, and while she did an admirable job of fighting through that exhaustion, Dixon was able to take her tired opponent down with ease and she dominated from top position, clearly winning the final two rounds of this fight on the scorecards. This fight marked Dixon’s UFC debut, and she improved to 6-0 professionally.
TERRANCE MCKINNEY (14-6, 155.5) VS BRENDON MAROTTE (8-1, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Just seconds into the fight, McKinney dropped Marotte hard with a knee to the chin, and McKinney followed Marotte to the ground, where he threw down ground and pound strikes until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Terrance McKinney by TKO at 0:20 of Round 1
McKinney was the biggest betting favourite on this card, and he showed why with this quick finish. There is not much to break down from such a quick fight, but the knee that McKinney dropped Marotte with was perfectly timed, and his strategy of rushing Marotte (who was making his UFC debut) paid off perfectly, quickly overwhelming his opponent. Remarkably, this marked McKinney’s sixth stoppage victory in less than a minute, and this twenty-second stoppage was only his fifth quickest victory. McKinney’s UFC record now stands at 5-3 following this win.
TAINARA LISBOA (6-2, 133.5) VS RAVENA OLIVEIRA (7-1-1, 133) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Lisboa began the fight with a hard right hand. Lisboa flurried forward with a series of right hands and hard knees up the middle just over a minute into the round, doing some solid damage before Oliveria wrapped her up in the clinch against the cage. Eventually, Oliveira was successful in taking the fight to the ground, but Lisboa quickly returned to her feet, where she secured a takedown of her own. Lisboa maintained top position until time expired, likely securing the round. 10-9 Lisboa.
Lisboa took the fight right back to the ground just seconds into round two. Lisboa mounted Oliveria, where she started throwing down left hands, before settling into half guard. While Lisboa did not do a tremendous amount of damage from top position, she maintained her position for the near entirety of the round, with Oliveira unable to return to her feet until the final seconds of the round. 20-18 Lisboa.
Oliveira came out swinging in the third round but quickly wrapped Lisboa back up in the clinch, where Lisboa reversed the positioning and landed a solid knee before the fighters separated. Oliveira reversed a takedown attempt to take top position with just under three minutes to work, and she maintained top control for roughly three minutes before Lisboa escaped to her feet. Lisboa recorded one last takedown before time expired, but I did give Oliveria the edge in round three. 29-28 Lisboa.
WINNER: Tainara Lisboa by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Much of this fight took place on the ground, where Lisboa largely seemed to hold the advantage. Oliveria racked up some control time in the third round as well, but she was down on the scorecards by that point in the fight and needed a finish far more than the control time that she racked up to earn herself the final round on the scorecards. Lisboa fought a good fight, showcasing more of that well-rounded style that was on display in her UFC debut against Jessica-Rose Clark. Lisboa is now 2-0 in the UFC following this win, and she has won five consecutive fights.
DARREN ELKINS (27-11, 146) VS T.J. BROWN (17-10, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Elkins loaded up with a body shot, and took Brown down in the process, taking top position with four minutes to work. Elkins worked his way into half guard, where he landed some solid ground and pound strikes, but it was not long before Brown exploded to his feet and secured a takedown of his own. Elkins worked his way back up along the cage, and when Brown attempted to shoot for another takedown, Elkins worked his way to the back of Brown, and he dragged Brown back to the ground, where he attempted to sink in a rear naked choke. Brown avoided the submission, but likely lost this opening round on the scorecards.
Brown landed some solid leg kicks in the first minute of the second round, working his jab to great effect as well. Elkins changed levels and took the fight to the ground, maintaining top position despite a scramble attempt from Brown. Brown quickly popped back to his feet however, where he opted to take Elkins right back down. Brown tried to climb up the back of Elkins, but his positioning was slightly off, allowing Elkins to take top position after turning into Brown. Once again, Brown managed to escape to his feet, and he started swinging while pressuring forward, but Elkins quickly brought the fight back to the ground, where Brown was able to reverse the positioning, before losing it once again to Elkins. This was a very close round, full of reversals on the ground, but I thought that Brown took the round based on the slight edge in damage.
Elkins immediately took the fight back to the ground in round three. Elkins partially took the back of Brown, where he started looking for an arm triangle, but Brown was wise to it, and fended Elkins off. Elkins wrapped in a body triangle and began to hunt for a rear naked choke instead, and this time he locked the submission in tight, forcing Brown to submit.
WINNER: Darren Elkins by rear naked choke at 2:23 of Round 3
There were a lot of fun grappling exchanges throughout this fight, with both fighters repeatedly scrambling into top position and countering with submission attempts. Elkins was the stronger wrestler and repeatedly initiated these exchanges, but Brown did a good job of keeping Elkins from maintaining his desired positioning for any notable period of time. By the third round however, the pace of the fight seemed to have worn on Brown, and Elkins capitalized, locking in a body triangle before securing the rear naked choke victory. Elkins is now thirty-nine years old, but remains a tough challenge for younger fighters, as evidenced by his 4-2 record across his last six fights.
CHRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ (9-1, 140) VS CAMERON SAAIMAN (9-0, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Rodriguez missed weight by 4lbs and was fined 25% of his purse as a result.
Rodriguez wasted little time in going on the attack, quickly pressing forward. Rodriguez threw a spinning back fist, before countering a spinning attack from Saaiman with a right hook. Rodriguez took the fight to the ground after landing the hook, but the fight quickly returned to the feet, where Saaiman landed a kick to the body. Saaiman was quite creative with his offense back on the feet, but I thought Rodriguez was landing with more power, and he mixed in the occasional takedown to keep Saaiman from getting too comfortable. 10-9 Rodriguez.
Rodriguez defended a pair of takedown attempts from Saaiman roughly a minute into the second round, but he attempted to counter the second one with an anaconda, which allowed Saaiman to take top position on the ground. Saaiman worked his way to the back of Rodriguez, but Rodriguez eventually scrambled out of the position, taking Saaiman’s back instead. Saaiman rolled for a kneebar, and while he was unable to secure the submission, he did improve his positioning before the end of the round. 19-19.
Rodriguez pushed the pace on the feet in the third round, pressing forward with some hard shots. Saaiman responded with some short combinations of his own, and both men were finding quite a bit of offensive success throughout the first half of the final round. Rodriguez eventually took the fight to the ground, looking for a decisive advantage in what was a very close round, but Saaiman returned to his feet without taking damage, and the fighters continued to exchange strikes on the feet. This was a very close round, but I gave the slight edge to Rodriguez, who I believe landed his strikes with more power. 29-28 Rodriguez.
WINNER: Christian Rodriguez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Rodriguez missed weight by a drastic amount here, marking his second consecutive weight miss, something which unfortunately overshadowed his performance. This was an entertaining fight, with Saaiman’s creativity on the feet proving itself to be a solid match for Rodriguez’s power, but in the end, I thought that Rodriguez held the slight edge in terms of damage, and he did a good job of mixing in his wrestling as well, although Saaiman was largely able to return to his feet without taking much damage. Rodriguez apologized for his weight miss after the fight, and hopefully, Rodriguez will be able to manage his weight-cutting issues heading into his next fight, as three straight weight misses would be disastrous, regardless of his strong performances inside the octagon.
ANDRE PETROSKI (10-1, 186) VS MICHEL PEREIRA (28-11, 2 NC, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Just about one minute into the fight, Pereira dropped Petroski hard with a right hand, and he wasted no time in following Petroski to the ground, quickly finishing the fight with ground-and-pound strikes.
WINNER: Michel Pereira by TKO at 1:06 of Round 1
Pereira effectively finished Petroski with the first clean shot he landed. It was a strong finish to kick off Pereira’s run at middleweight, and he did it against a fighter who certainly would have been a challenging stylistic matchup, given Petroski’s impressive grappling ability. When Pereira debuted in the UFC, many questioned how far he could go in the promotion with his exciting, high-risk style, and while he’s certainly turned down the wild antics in the cage, he has answered those critics by quietly accumulating a total record of 7-2 in the promotion, with one of those losses coming by disqualification against Diego Sanchez in a fight that Pereira was dominating. Pereira has had a very strong run in the UFC, and middleweight may be an even better fit for Pereira, given that the weight cut to 170lbs was becoming such a struggle for him.
JONATHAN MARTINEZ (18-4, 136) VS ADRIAN YANEZ (16-4, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Martinez landed some heavy leg kicks to start the fight, generating some big reactions from Yanez. It was not long before Yanez started limping, and knowing that he was in deep trouble, Yanez started to swing wildly, in an attempt to secure a desperate finish. Martinez was able to avoid the big swings from Yanez and grounded him with another hard leg kick, but he allowed Yanez to return to his feet, and Yanez managed to make it out of the round.
Yanez did his best to fight through the pain in the second round but was grounded yet again by another leg kick from Martinez, and by this point in the second round, it was starting to feel like there was no longer a path to victory from Yanez, who could barely put weight on his leg. Yanez continued to try to brawl with Martinez, but Martinez fought intelligently, avoiding Yanez’s heavy shots before refocusing his attack on the lead leg of Yanez, forcing Yanez to fall to the ground yet again, and securing the finish.
WINNER: Jonathan Martinez by TKO at 2:26 of Round 2
Martinez wasted little time in attacking the lead leg of Yanez, and his strategy quickly paid off, as significant damage was done to the lead leg of Yanez just minutes into the fight. It was not long before Yanez could not put weight on that leg, and he was effectively out of this fight as a result, swinging wildly as he desperately attempted to force a finish. Martinez did not get reckless after realizing Yanez was hurt however, instead taking his time in picking apart that lead leg until Yanez finally stayed down. It was a strong performance from Martinez, and he made the most of his post-fight interview, calling out Merab Dvalishvili, a fighter called out by very few.
JENNIFER MAIA (21-9-1, 125) VS VIVIANE ARAUJO (11-5, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
The fighters were content to trade hands early, with both women landing some heavy hooks in the pocket. There was not much to separate the fighters on the feet, as both were doing fairly consistent work, so as the round progressed, both started to look for takedowns. Araujo brought Maia into the clinch at one point, but Maia quickly backed Araujo into the cage, resulting in Araujo breaking off with a solid elbow. Araujo defended a takedown from Maia, before shooting for one of her own, but was unable to complete the takedown before the round concluded. 10-9 Maia.
Araujo took Maia to the ground at the start of the second round, and as Maia attempted to pick herself up, Araujo jumped on the back of Maia, bringing her back to the ground. While Araujo was not terribly active from Maia’s back, she had a body triangle locked in, and she managed to maintain her position for the near entirety of the round, clearly taking this one on the scorecards. 19-19.
Maia’s corner urged her to seek a finish in this final round, given that there was a very strong chance that she was down two rounds heading into the third. Maia fended off Araujo’s first takedown attempt of the round, and she landed a hard series of punches after stopping a second attempt. Araujo was not deterred, and continued chasing after takedowns. Maia defended the attempts and secured one of her own with two minutes remaining in the round. Araujo worked her way up along the fence and took top position on the ground after avoiding a submission attempt before time expired. 29-28 Maia.
WINNER: Viviane Araujo by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This fight more or less came down to what was a very close opening round. Araujo dominated round two, and I thought that round three clearly went to Maia, but the first round largely played out on the feet, where the fighters seemed to be fairly evenly matched. I gave the slightest of edges to Maia, but I cannot argue with the decision, and this was a much-needed win for Araujo, who had lost two consecutive fights going into this one. Araujo will move back into the division’s top ten as a result of this win, and will undoubtedly attempt to work her way to a rematch with Alexa Grasso, the division’s current champion.
SODIQ YUSUFF (13-2, 145.5) VS EDSON BARBOZA (23-11, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Yusuff immediately took the fight to Barboza, hurting him with a hard right hand. Barboza did his best to stay in the fight, swinging back with power, but Barboza was hurt badly, and Yusuff was relentless, rocking Barboza repeatedly as he pressed forward. Barboza was on the verge of being finished multiple times here but did just enough to keep himself alive for the time being, eventually wrapping Yusuff up in the clinch. Yusuff took Barboza to the ground, where he started throwing down hard ground and pound strikes in an attempt to finish the fight. Yusuff avoided a pair of leg lock attempts from Barboza and maintained top position for the remainder of what was a very one-sided round. 10-9 Yusuff.
Barboza came out swinging in the second round, looking to make up ground. Yusuff responded with heavier shots of his own, backing Barboza off. Barboza ripped the body with a solid combination of strikes in the clinch, but Yusuff responded by backing him into the cage, where he further depleted Barboza’s gas tank. Barboza landed a solid right hand before going on the attack later in the round, and he was doing very solid work whenever he attacked the body of Yusuff, slowing Yusuff down considerably as the round progressed. This round was far closer than the first, and I thought that Barboza may have edged it out with that late-focused attack on the body of Yusuff. 19-18 Yusuff.
Barboza continued to attack the body in the third round, and Yusuff responded with that forward pressure that he found success within the first round. With both men willing to march forward, they were meeting in the clinch often, slowing the action, to the benefit of both tired fighters. When the fighters separated, however, it was Barboza who was out landing Yusuff, and putting a brutal beating on Yusuff’s body. Barboza landed a spinning head kick that rocked Yusuff badly, dropping him in the third round’s final minute, and Barboza followed him to the ground, where he attempted to finish the fight with ground and pound. Yusuff managed to survive Barboza’s flurry, and this fight would see a fourth round. 28-28.
Barboza began the fourth round with a spinning back kick to the body of Yusuff. He began to work his jab while mixing in the occasional kick to the body. Yusuff shot for a takedown, but the attempt was defended, and Barboza caught him with another hard body kick. Barboza was swinging hard with his strikes, landing with power, but Yusuff was very much still in this fight, countering whenever Barboza left himself open. Barboza ended the round with a strong combination of punches, and both men had taken a considerable amount of damage heading into the fifth round. 38-37 Barboza.
The fighters met in the clinch in the first minute of the final round, where Barboza landed a number of hard strikes, before landing a spinning back kick to the body when the fighters broke apart. Yusuff still possessed a great deal of power, but Barboza appeared to have the edge in terms of output, and his varied attack was leading to more success offensively. Barboza secured a takedown with just under two minutes remaining, but Yusuff was able to pick himself up, and the fighters wrestled in the clinch as time started to run out in the round. Barboza tripped Yusuff to the ground two more times before time expired, but was unable to do much damage before the final horn sounded. 48-46 Barboza.
WINNER: Edson Barboza by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-46, 48-46)
I thought that this may have been the most entertaining fight of the year to this point. Yusuff had Barboza in deep trouble in the first round, rocking him repeatedly on the feet, before nearly finishing the fight on the ground, but Barboza managed to survive Yusuff’s onslaught, and somehow made it to the second round. The second round was the closest of the fight, with Yusuff picking up where he left off before Barboza slowly started to work his way back into the fight by focusing his attack in on the body of Yusuff. Barboza really slowed Yusuff down with the body shots, and from this point onward, Barboza was a step ahead of Yusuff, even dropping him with his signature spinning wheel kick in the third round. It was a fantastic fight, and even though Yusuff was unable to take home the win, I think that he earned quite a lot of fans with his performance here, I do not think this will be the last UFC card that we will see him headline. Barboza is now thirty-seven years old, and will likely be thirty-eight by the next time he steps into the octagon. He was certainly feeling the effects of fighting at such a high level for so many years, but despite his age, Edson Barboza remains a ranked fighter in a competitive weight class, and he is still one of the most entertaining fighters in the world.