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UFC Vegas 81 Yusuff vs. Barboza Main Card Best Bets

Edson Barboza Bryce Mitchell UFC 272
Edson Barboza of Brazil (R) fights Bryce Mitchell in their featherweight fight during UFC 272. David Becker/Getty Images/AFP

The UFC returns to Vegas this Saturday, and we’ll witness an absolute cracker of a main event when Sodiq Yusuff and Edson Barboza trade blows in the octagon.

Top-ten-ranked women’s flyweights Jennifer Maia and Viviane Araujo exchange leather in the co-main event, both of whom are looking to position themselves closer to title contention.

Let’s waste no more time and dive right into the most noteworthy betting picks for the UFC Vegas 81 main and co-main event.

Picks Summary


Sodiq Yusuff vs. Edson Barboza

UFC Vegas 81 Featherweight Main Event Bout

Saturday, October 14, 2023 – 04:00 PM EDT at UFC Apex


He’s only competed in a UFC octagon on seven occasions, but Sodiq Yusuff (13-2-0 pro-MMA) has swiftly climbed into the top-15 featherweight rankings and is a solidified fan favorite.

This weekend, however, a true test for the Nigerian representative has emerged, as UFC legend and kickboxing ace Edson Barboza (23-11-0) steps up and attempts to add another emphatic KO/TKO to an already-impressive highlight reel.

Yusuff vs. Barboza: Fight Tape Analysis

For Barboza, it’s all about the striking, specifically his kicking game. He enjoys fighting at range, unleashing menacing combinations while waiting for the opportune moment to knock his opponent into oblivion.

Grappling the Brazilian is a bit of an afterthought, but there’s no need to fix something that certainly isn’t broken. And as an offensive striking-based fighter, he’s been one of the most exciting competitors to watch.

Yusuff is an excellent striker in his own right, but unlike Barboza, he pressures forward and overwhelms his opponents up close. This is a blueprint most of Barboza’s past nemeses’ would’ve trained, but fortunately for the Nigerian, it’s his style, and it’s a huge advantage heading into Saturday’s main event.

UFC Vegas 81 Main Event Odds & Prediction

The UFC odds have positioned Yusuff as the betting favorite with a moneyline price of -163, and I cannot argue this price.

Not only will Yusuff possess a youth, durability, and grappling advantage, but he also owns the perfect striking style to eliminate Barboza’s offensive.

UFC Pick: Yusuff ML (-163) [1.66u returns 1u profit] at Bet365


Jennifer Maia vs. Viviane Araujo

UFC Vegas 81 Women’s Flyweight Co-Main Event Bout

Saturday, October 14, 2023 – 04:00 PM EDT at UFC Apex


After Jennifer Maia (21-9-1) gave Valentina Shevchenko one of the most challenging championship defenses of her career, outside of her loss to Alexa Grasso, of course, the Brazilian’s respect levels instantly grew.

Maia has gone 3-2 since her commendable performance versus Shevchenko, but she’s currently riding a two-fight streak and is one of the most experienced women’s flyweights on the roster.

Much like her weekend foe, Viviane Araujo (11-5-0) owns a respectable amount of pro-MMA experience, having been the former Pancrase champion and a 5-4 record in the UFC.

Both ladies are fighting in the latter stage of their respective careers – beyond their mid-thirties – and this weekend will be a battle of fight intelligence and experience.

Maia vs. Araujo: Fight Tape Analysis

Momentum, fight IQ, and grappling will favor Maia, whereas I expect the offensive striking game to favor Araujo slightly. With this in mind, we must respect Maia as the betting favorite, and it’s a smart game plan that I believe will be significant in achieving victory this weekend.

A viable game plan for Maia would be to clinch and cage fight Araujo as depleted cardio arises. Yes, I know it’s a boring approach, but we aren’t paying her wages, and it’s been a credible path to victory for Maia in the past.

UFC Vegas 81 Co-Main Event Odds & Prediction

The UFC prices at OddsTrader’s top sportsbooks have placed Maia as the betting favorite with a moneyline price of -155. I actually expected the line to be slightly closer in this bout, but the added confidence from the sportsbooks can be a gift and a curse.

It’s difficult to support Araujo in this position; I can’t see past her lone route to winning this bout – striking – and I predict the diversity of Maia will gift the former title challenger with her third straight win in the octagon.

UFC Pick: Maia ML (-155) [1.55u returns 1u profit] at Caesars Sportsbook

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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