UFC headliner reveals ‘crazy’ mistake from Fight of the Night war

IMAGO/USA Today Network: Edson Barboza defeated Sodiq Yusuff at UFC Vegas 81.

Knockout artist Edson Barboza did not manage to score another of his signature finishes when he faced Sodiq Yusuff at last week’s UFC Vegas 81’s main event. Nevertheless, the match will still be remembered by fans and pundits alike for being another thrilling war that earned the Brazilian his ninth ‘Fight of The Night’ bonus.

Edson Barboza was not supposed to brawl at UFC Vegas 81

Part of the reason why the UFC fight became so memorable happened in the first round, when both Barboza and Yusuff went toe to toe in a slugfest that could have ended with either man getting knocked out. Although both chins held up, the Brazilian was not too happy with the way he got sucked into a brawl and was glad he was able to pull himself together and take fewer risks in the following rounds.

In an interview with Ag Fight, Edson Barboza explained that brawling was never even part of the gameplan his team had developed, especially in the first round. Though the careless decision could have cost the Brazilian the fight, part of Barboza still enjoyed the thrill of being in a battle. Now that it is all said and done and the 37-year-old has another win under his belt, the Brazilian is satisfied with his performance.

“The craziest thing about this whole thing is that I knew he started out really strong. We developed an almost perfect gameplan, which is what I did from the second round until the end of the fight. Part of the plan was to never get into a brawl. I knew that and I thought to myself: ‘I don’t need to take that risk’. Thank God I was able to recover, but it was a technical mistake on my part.”

“My whole team did everything correctly. I think that I got caught up in the heat of the moment. Like any good fighter, we enjoy a brawl. When his hands started flying towards me, I fired right back and that’s what happened. I managed to survive the pressure and I was in a better spot than him when it ended. It was a true 25-minute war. I’m happy with the result. All that hard work paid off.”

Barboza has not won three in a row in over six years

The win over Sodiq Yusuff now puts Edson Barboza (24-11) on a two-fight winning streak, with a highlight reel knee knockout win over Billy Quarantillo, which took place in April. In fact, 2023 has been a much more positive year in the 37-year-old’s UFC career, since he was able to snap a two-fight skid with losses to Bryce Mitchell in March 2022 and Giga Chikadze in August 2021.

Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he has not been able to put together more than two wins in over six years in the UFC. The last time Barboza won three fights in a row dates all the way back to his victories over Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez and Beneil Dariush, which respectively took place in April and July of 2016 and March 2017.

Since he dropped to the featherweight division, Barboza has found more success, having won four of his seven outings in the division. So far, the Brazilian has also beaten Makwan Amirkhani and Shane Burgos in the division, on top of his two most recent victories. The other defeat happened in his divisional debut, when he dropped a much contested split decision to Dan Ige, in May 2020.

April 15, 2023, Kansas City, MO, Missouri, USA: KANSAS Kansas City, MO, MISSOURI - APRIL 15: (R-L) Edson Barboza kicks Billy Quarantillo in a featherweight bout during UFC Fight Night Kansas City - Holloway vs Allen at T-Mobile Center on April 15th, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. Kansas City, MO USA - ZUMAp175 20230415_zsa_p175_136
Matt Davies / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

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About the author

Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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