The UFC’s featherweight class is full of top-drawer talent, and one of the top rising prospects in the division faces a stern test of his top-level credentials as Sodiq Yusuff takes on his first UFC main event opportunity on Saturday, October 14.
“Super” Sodiq earned his place on the UFC roster after a winning performance on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018, and has won six of his seven UFC appearances to date, with notable wins over the likes of Sheymon Moraes, Gabriel Benitez, Andre Fili, and Alex Caceres. Most recently, Yusuff picked up a 30-second guillotine choke submission win over Don Shainis in October 2022.
Now, after a year away from the Octagon, Yusuff returns to face one of the most respected finishers in the game. Edson Barboza has been facing top-level opposition for the past decade, and showed that his penchant for spectacular knockouts is still very much a factor with a stunning knockout of Billy Quarantillo at UFC Kansas City in April.
Now Yusuff and Barboza will face off at the UFC Apex in a battle between the featherweight division’s 11th- and 13th-ranked contenders.
Also set for action on the card, it’s No. 9 versus No. 11 in the women’s flyweight division, as Brazilian rivals Jennifer Maia and Viviane Araujo face off in the co-main event, while bantamweights Jonathan Martinez and Adrian Yanez get set to face off in a clash of striking stylists at 135 pounds.
The event also marks the UFC middleweight debut of Brazil’s Michel Pereira. The unpredictable knockout artist failed to make welterweight for his bout with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in July, and he was set to face Marc-Andre Barriault at 185 pounds.
But, after the Canadian was forced off the card due to injury, grappling ace Andre Petroski has stepped in, and will look to claim a statement win of his own as he looks to extend his win streak to six and improve his career record to 11-1.
Further down the card, talented unranked bantamweights will go head to head, as 9-1 Christian Rodriguez takes on undefeated 9-0 Cameron Saaiman, while undefeated English bantamweight debutant Melissa Dixon will look to make a big first impression as she takes on 5-1 Russian Irina Alekseeva, who claimed an impressive first-round kneebar finish of Switzerland’s Stephanie Egger on her Octagon debut in April.
UFC Vegas 81: Official fight card
- Sodiq Yusuff vs. Edson Barboza
- Jennifer Maia vs. Viviane Araujo
- Jonathan Martinez vs. Adrian Yanez
- Andre Petroski vs. Michel Pereira
- Edgar Chairez vs. Daniel Lacerda
- Christian Rodriguez vs. Cameron Saaiman
- Darren Elkins vs. TJ Brown
- Tainara Lisboa vs. Dariya Zheleznykova
- Terrance McKinney vs. Brendaon Marotte
- Irina Alekseeva vs. Melissa Dixon
- Chris Gutierrez vs. Heili Alateng
- Ashley Yoder vs. Emily Ducote