Arnold ‘Almighty’ Allen is set to take on his biggest test in the UFC to date. At UFC Vegas 23, he takes on Sodiq Yusuff in a co-main event slot.
‘Almighty’ Allen vs ‘Super’ Sodiq
The two featherweights are ranked at 10 and 11 in the featherweight division. Thus the winner will likely have a shot of cracking the top 5 in the near future. However, in a recent interview with MiddleEasy’s Frank Bonada, Allen revealed that he is fully aware of the danger a fighter like Yusuff brings, and will not be overlooking him.
He had the following to say about Yusuff:
“He’s like myself, a young, hungry prospect. He’s gonna come forward, he’s gonna throw big shots. He looks physically strong. He keeps pressing and is very aggressive. Good power in his right hand. It’s all those things. A solid jab. Throws good kicks. He’s got the whole package.”
However, the fact that his opponent is of such high calibre in terms of skill, appears to be incentivising Allen even more. ‘Almighty’ is yet to KO an opponent in the octagon, and believes that Yusuff will be a great place to start.
“I’ve proven I can knock people out. Well, not in the UFC I haven’t. But I’ve had submissions, I can submit people. I can submit black belts. I’ve got power in my hands. I know it, and this is the fight to show it. Everyone wants a knockout right.”
A Future Fight Against Zabit?
With much of the featherweights, top 10 currently booked, injured or suspended there are relatively few fighters clear to fight in the coming months. However, one fighter that is unbooked and thus may be the next step for whoever wins this exciting matchup is Zabit Magomedsharipov. Arnold Allen had the following to say about the Dagestani 145er:
“He’s fun to watch. He’s obviously really good, he’s an elite-level athlete right. But there’s definitely holes in his game.”
Whether it be Zabit next or not, Allen is looking to have an active year following 2020 where covid limited him to just 1 fight.
“I’d like to get 3 or 4 (fights). My plan in 2020 was to get busy and get active. Obviously, that got pooped on. I fought in January and was like right, gonna keep the ball rolling. I wasn’t booked but they were gonna book me for June… But next thing I know I’m still scratching my ass over here.”
Holloway Just A “Diaz With Good Fight IQ”
One fight that may hold up the future of the 145lb division is that of Max Holloway being promised the winner out of Volkanovski vs Ortega. However, Allen feels that Holloway is deserving of it and bears him no ill will.
“He’s beat Ortega pretty comfortably before. If he wins the belt then for sure he deserves a rematch against him. And then obviously with Volkanovski, they’ve had two fights. The second was more controversial than the first. So he definitely deserves a trilogy with Volkanvoski even though it’s two losses. He definitely deserves a rematch with either of those guys.”
Should Allen continue his impressive win streak, a future fight against Max Holloway would seem inevitable at some point or other. Allen revealed that he has one major takeaway from the way in which Holloway fights. He stated the following:
“The main thing I always thought with Holloway is that he’s like a Diaz with more fight IQ. Not that they don’t have fight IQ. But the way they fight, they get in your face and throw shots. They just try and break you. He does that, but he’s also using his brain.”
Watch the full interview:
Arnold Allen faces Sodiq Yusuff on the co-main event of UFC Vegas 23, which takes place in the Apex Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada on April 10th.