Barboza Pulls Off Improbable Comeback to Stun Yusuff in Main Event

November 15, 2023
3 weeks

Veteran Brazilian fighter Edson Barboza, 37, was bruised and battered. Dropped by a vicious combination from Sodiq Yusuff only minutes into their first Saturday night in Las Vegas, referee Herb Dean didn’t stop the featherweight bout between the pair. Barboza not only survived but dominated his younger opponent.

Barboza would utilize his cardio and excellent striking to punish the 30-year-old Nigerian fighter. According to the MMA latest updates, the judges didn’t even consider the contest between the two fighters particularly close after the first round. Barboza won the unanimous decision to highlight a card that saw little of everything.

Barboza Comes Back to Grab Victory

Yusuff was returning to competition after a year off. He planned to rush Barboza in the first round and see if the veteran fighter could survive. Barboza passed the test. Then Barboza went to work on beating up Yusuff’s body.

Barboza lit up Yusuff with body shots. In the third round, Barboza landed the most significant shot that changed the fight in the third. He hit Yusuff with a spinning heel kick flush on the forehead, sending Yusuff sprawling to the mat. While Barboza couldn’t end the fight with a subsequent choke attempt, he did seem to wear on Yusuff’s gas tank.

Barboza ended up earning a unanimous decision on all three scorecards (49-46, 48-46, 48-46). The veteran fighter hopes he will earn more spots on UFC pay-per-view cards.

Araujo Executes Plan to Perfection

Women’s flyweight Viviane Araujo did what she needed to do against former title challenger Jennifer Maia. Araujo was the more active striker and made more of a takedown in the second round to grab a unanimous decision win in the co-main event. Araujo needed a high-level performance after losing consecutive fights against ranked contender Amanda Ribas and current champion Alexa Grasso in her last two fights.

Both women finished with two takedowns during their battle. However, Araujo being more aggressive on her feet allowed her to score the win. 

Martinez Gets into the Record Books

Getting kicked in the leg by a professional mixed martial arts seems terrifying. Even the professionals are afraid to feel the wrath of ranked bantamweight Jonathan Martinez’s powerful kicks. In a battle between highly thought of strikers, Martinez employed the full arsenal against Adrian Yanez.

Martinez landed 29 leg kicks. A sharp one in the first round made Yanez hesitant to put weight back on his leg. Martinez continued to follow through with the strikes and eventually compromised Yanez’s leg for a second-round knockout. Many MMA news sites point out after the bout that Martinez became the second UFC fighter to finish multiple fights with a leg kick knockout. The other is Barboza.

Pereira Shows He Does Have the Power

Michel Pereira has been a middleweight long renowned for his power and threat to end any fight due to his unorthodox striker. But Pereira hadn’t displayed that ability much in the UFC recently. Pereira had won his previous four contests by decision before he fought Andre Petroski.

Pereira didn’t wait long against Petroski. After having difficulty cutting to welterweight, Pereira shined in his debut at 185 pounds. Pereira dropped Petroski early in the fight and swarmed him with punches to force a stop to the fight after 66 seconds.

Rodriguez Knocks Off Undefeated Fighter

Christian Rodriguez caught the eyes of the MMA world with his win over Raul Rosas Jr. on the undercard of the Israel Adesanya-Alex Pereira fight last April. While he won’t be happy he missed weight by four pounds, Rodriguez showed how skilled he was once again. Rodriguez was able to pressure previously undefeated Cameron Saaiman consistently throughout the fight.

Rodriguez wore him down with striking and was capable in the grappling exchanges between the pair. He would pick up the unanimous decision victory.

Elkins Spoils Brown’s Night

Featherweight T.J. Brown said he made significant lifestyle changes before taking on Darren Elkins. He quit drinking and partying to try and make a run at the featherweight championship. That run hit a serious road bump against durable veteran Darren Elkins.

Brown decided not to try and strike with the 37-year-old Elkins. Instead, Brown forced the issue on the ground and put himself in grappling exchanges. That’s a mistake against Elkins, who prefers to grapple.

Elkins was able to lock up Brown for a third-round submission win via a rear-naked choke. Elkins improved to 28-11 in his career with six submissions.

McKinney Puts on Usual Show

Terrance McKinney prefers to have short performances if he can. McKinney lit up Brandon Marotte in a lightweight contest Saturday night. McKinney hit Marotte with a brutal knee within the first 10 seconds and finished the fight with strikes at the 20-second mark.

It was the fifth-shortest fight in McKinney’s career. Marotte took the fight on short notice, and it was his UFC debut. Anyone hoping for more MMA breaking news about McKinney’s career will hope he can get a proper test in his next fight. McKinney has won consecutive fights by KO after being finished in two fights by Nazim Sadykov and Ismael Bonfim.

Dixon Missed Big Opportunity

British bantamweight Melissa Dixon looked excellent in her UFC debut. But she left a lot on the table. Dixon spent much of the second and third rounds in top position but couldn’t finish her opponent, Irina Alekseeva. Alekseeva dropped Dixon with a straight punch in the first round but couldn’t secure a finish either.

Dixon would earn the unanimous decision on all three judges’ scorecards. Here’s a look at the results of the fights that aren’t mentioned above:

  • Women’s bantamweight, Tainara Lisboa defeated Ravena Oliveira by decision, 29-28 x3
  • Bantamweight, Chris Gutierrez defeated Aalateng Heili by decision, 30-27 x3
  • Women’s strawweight, Emily Ducote defeated Ashley Yoder by decision, 30-27, 29-28 x2

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