Arnold Allen will be taking on Sodiq Yusuff at UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland which is expected to be a very competitive matchup between two of the most promising up-and-coming featherweight contenders in the division.
Arnold Allen vs. Sodiq Yusuff UFC Vegas 23 Fight Preview
Both fresh at the young age of 27 and undefeated in the UFC, these young fighters will be brimming with confidence to show they will be real threat to the featherweight title in the future. Furthermore, they have plenty of time to further improve their already well-rounded skillset after showing they are adept in all areas of MMA. Both truly represent the next generation of fighters to come through and it’ll be interesting to see what both fighters achieve in the future.
This matchup will be the toughest test to date for either fighter as they’re coming up against someone who is very similar in their current career trajectory. Allen is ranked no.10 and Yusuff is ranked no.11.
It is clear that both fighters seem intent to compete at the higher echelons of the division in the immediate future. A win here could send either man straight into the title mix and if not, definitely within the higher level contenders of the division, the likes of a Yair Rodriguez, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Calvin Kattar and so on.
As mentioned earlier, Allen (16-1) is undefeated in the UFC promotion and was last seen in action against the veteran Nik Lentz back in January 2020 in which the won a comfortable unanimous decision against Lentz. Hailing from Ipswich, the Englishman has not fought since then probably due to COVID travel complications in 2020 but will be eager to continue his impressive 9 fight winning streak (7 in the UFC) where he has defeated the likes of Makwan Amirkhani, Mads Burnell, Jordan Rinaldi and his most high profile win against the former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez in July 2019 at UFC 239.
Prior to joining the UFC roster, Allen won the M4TC Lightweight Championship in his native England, his last fight before becoming a UFC fighter in 2015. Allen has fought seven times in the UFC and has won all of them. His last defeat was outside the UFC promotion when he dropped a unanimous decision loss to Marcin Wrzosek at CWFC 69 in 2014. The Englishman has not lost since 2014 and does not intend to do going full steam ahead against his toughest test in Yusuff on Saturday.
Hailing from Lagos in Nigeria, Yusuff has become quite the hype train since joining the UFC and with good reason to. Like his upcoming opponent, the man is undefeated in the UFC after bursting onto the scene with an impressive win at Dana White’s Contender Series against Mike Davis in 2018. Yusuff earned himself a UFC contrast with the win and has not looked back since winning all four of his UFC wins consecutively against the likes of Suman Mokhtarian, Sheymon Moraes, Gabriel Benítez and most recently against Andre Fili in January 2020.
Like his counterpart, Yusuff has not competed since then and will be rarin’ to go to continue his winning momentum going and remind everyone why they were so high on him in the first place. Currently on a six fight win streak, Yusuff intends to make it seven on the trot and gain a well known opponent in his next bout should he come through successfully on Saturday.
It is clear that Yusuff is athletically gifted. He has knockout power in his hands and is composed under the chaos. He is almost like a robot how calm he is whilst the man constantly looks to knock his opponents down. The punching power of Yusuff is very good and I believe he has the power advantage here.
Allen on the other hand, has a great jab and very good kicks to his arsenal which he uses well to maintain distance. If the Englishman keeps disciplined, which he usually does, and keeps Yusuff on the end of his jab and kicks, whilst avoiding the big power punches from Yusuff, then that is definitely a key to victory.
To counter that I believe Yusuff must use calf kicks to disrupt the distance management that Allen may keep. Chop away at the nearest target (lead leg) with calf kicks, close the distance and engage with Allen in punching range. In doing so, I believe Yusuff could land the power punch he needs to knock Allen down.