UFC Vegas 81: Yusuff vs. Barboza Staff Picks

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A slower week for MMASucka staff picks sees a quietly stacked event on the horizon.

Taking place later tonight, October 14th sees UFC Vegas 81, also titled as UFC Fight Night 230, set for action from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fights begin with prelims at 4:00pm ET (1:00pm PT) and the main card at 7:00pm ET (4:00pm PT) with all fights available to ESPN+ subscribers.

Stay locked in here at MMASucka for results from UFC Vegas 81: Yusuff vs. Barboza.

The Fights

Two featherweights looking to break their way into their divisional top ten see Sodiq Yusuff and Edson Barboza set for five rounds in the night’s main event. Former Titan FC title challenger and Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Yusuff has won all but one of his seven fights in the promotion dropping a unanimous decision to Arnold Allen in the spring of 2021. Tonight’s fight will be his first fight in over a year following a successful 2022 with victories over Alex Caceres by decision and then-newcomer Don Shainis by guillotine choke in just 30 seconds. Yusuff’s opponent, Barboza, brings the octagon experience with his a UFC career dating back to November of 2010. With 19 post-fight bonus awards, will and grit are to be expected from the standup talent as the Brazilian favorite avoided three consecutive losses in his April outing with a first-round knockout opposite Billy Quarantillo.

In the co-main event, Jennifer Maia and Viviane Araujo will meet in an important fight for the women’s flyweight division. Former Invicta FC Champion and UFC title competitor Maia continues to represent Chute Boxing Academy searching for her third straight win since last November. Her opponent, former Pancrase Strawweight Champion Araujo, rides opposite momentum hoping to snap a two-fight skid that saw decision losses to now-champion Alexa Grasso last year and Amanda Ribas in March.

29-year-old bantamweights Jonathan Martinez and Adrian Yanez will meet on the main card with Martinez aiming for a fifth consecutive win and Yanez rebounding following a knockout loss in April to Rob Font.

Two additional fights compose the awaiting main card including the always unpredictable Michel Pereira and undefeated South African youthful Cameron Saaiman against their respected opponents of former Art of War Middleweight Champion Andre Petroski and three-fight UFC competitor Christian Rodriguez. At weigh-ins, Rodriguez missed the bantamweight mark by four pounds, but his fight with Saaiman will go on as planned losing a piece of his purse.

A pairing between Edgar Chairez and Daniel Lacerda was intended to take place on the main card and for our picks but was cancelled after Lacerda suffered medical issues and forced out of the fight. See our staff picks and predictions for these UFC Vegas 81: Yusuff vs. Barboza fights further below.

2023 Staff Picks

MMASucka staff picks are composed of five promotions: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). UFC and Bellator events feature picks from only main cards. PFL will feature select fights from the main and/or preliminary card while DWCS sees all fights counted from the event. ONE Championship returns to picks for the first time since 2020 and will feature only mixed martial arts (MMA) fights selected from cards with a minimum three matchups.

The WINNER of staff picks at the end of 2023, who picked the most victorious fighters, will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. Staff picks in 2022 was won by Wesley Riddle with a record of 264-135.

In the final promotional event of the year, who wins and who is picked to win by the MMASucka crew at Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 7, Week 10?

Staff Records after Dana White’s Contender Series – Season 7, Week 10:

1. Ben Jamieson: 260-132
2. Michael DeSantis: 254-134
3T. Jeremy Brand: 249-143
3T. Nate Freeman: 249-143
5. Wesley Riddle: 247-145
6. Frazer Krohn: 234-152
7. Julio Monteros Jr.: 212-119
8. Andrew Benjamin: 186-156
9. Jack Goodwillie: 148-83
10. Brian Knight: 140-84
11. Tim Wheaton: 105-60
12. Roemello Reyes: 62-34
13. Jonathan Andrade: 31-24
14. Brandon Joint: 12-9
15. Andrew Harbaugh: 10-7
16. Joshua Yule: 7-6
17. Chris De Santiago: 6-6
18. Antwyn Jackson: 5-6

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*

Christian Rodriguez (9-1), -148
Cameron Saaiman (9-0), +124

Bantamweight Division
– 135 LBS. ~ 61.2 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Rodriguez via Round 3 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Saaiman via Round 3 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Saaiman via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Saaiman via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Rodriguez via Split Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Saaiman via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Rodriguez via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Rodriguez: 2
Staff picking Saaiman: 4

Andre Petroski (10-2), +164
Michel Pereira (28-11, 2 NC), -198

Middleweight Division
– 185 LBS. ~ 83.9 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Pereira via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Pereira via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Petroski via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Pereira via Split Decision
Nate Freeman: Pereira via Round 2 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Pereira via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Pereira via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Petroski: 1
Staff picking Pereira: 6

Jonathan Martinez (18-4), -115
Adrian Yanez (16-4), -105

Catchweight Bout
– 140 LBS. ~ 63.5 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Martinez via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Martinez via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Yanez via Split Decision
Frazer Krohn: Yanez via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Yanez via Split Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Yanez via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Martinez via Round 1 SUB

Staff picking Martinez: 3
Staff picking Yanez: 4

Jennifer Maia (21-9-1), -155
Viviane Araujo (11-5), +130

Women’s Flyweight Division
– Co-Main Event –

– 125 LBS. ~ 56.7 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Maia via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Maia via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Maia via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Maia via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Maia via Split Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Maia via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Maia via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Maia: 7
Staff picking Araujo: 0

Sodiq Yusuff (13-2), -166
Edson Barboza (23-11), +140

Bantamweight Division
– Main Event –

– 145 LBS. ~ 65.8 KG. –

Jeremy Brand: Yusuff via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Barboza via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Yusuff via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Yusuff via Round 4 TKO
Nate Freeman: Yusuff via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Yusuff via Round 2 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Yusuff via Round 3 TKO

Staff picking Yusuff: 6
Staff picking Barboza: 1


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Wesley Riddle is a 28-year-old writer out of Harrisonburg, Virginia and a 2018 graduate from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, having obtained a B.S. in Health & Physical Education. Watching the draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard from 2011 sparked his interest in the sport of mixed martial arts. He created "All That MMA" on Twitter, which came to birth in December of 2013. He would join with MMASucka in the later quarter of 2016. Some of Riddle's hobbies include music, playing golf, watching horror movies, and working with non-profit organizations throughout his community. You can follow him on Twitter at @AllThatMMA or @WesleyRiddleMMA, and on Instagram @WesleyRiddle.

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