Edson Barboza may be in the veteran stage of his MMA career, but he still carries the “wow” factor into the cage every time he competes.
The Brazilian’s highlight reel contains some of the most spectacular knockouts in UFC history, and in his most recent outing against Billy Quarantillo at UFC Kansas City, he showed that his ability to finish fights in stunning fashion is still very much in his locker.
On Saturday night, Barboza returns to action at the UFC Apex, where he’s set to face fellow ranked featherweight contender Sodiq Yusuff in the main event of UFC Vegas 81. It’s a matchup Barboza says he’s going to relish as he faces a fellow striker in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
“He’s a great fighter. He’s definitely one of the best in the world,” he told reporters during media day.
“He’s (ranked) number 11, in front of me in the ranking. It’s gonna be a war, like always. the rank it’s gonna be a war, like always. Everybody knows every time I step into the Octagon, I give a good fight. This Saturday is not gonna be different. It’s gonna be a war.”
Stylistically, the matchup between Barboza and Yusuff leans strongly towards the striking arts, but it won’t have escaped Barboza’s attention that Yusuff claimed his first career submission victory in his last outing, as he submitted Don Shainis via guillotine choke in just 30 seconds last October.
It means that Barboza can’t rely on the bout being contested solely on the feet, and the Brazilian said that he can’t afford to into the bout focusing purely on the stand-up aspect.
“It’s an MMA fight. I need to be ready wherever this fight goes. I am ready,” he said.
“Everybody knows my style, they know the game plan is always the same. Keep it on the feet and try to stop him, try to finish the fight as soon as possible. But wherever this fight goes, I’ll be ready.
“I see the fight at the end with me with the win. I don’t know if it’s going to be a decision or a knockout or submission. But I know if I go there and give my best, I’m going to win this fight.”