Veteran fan favorite Edson Barboza delivered a comeback for the ages at in the UFC Vegas 81 headliner on Saturday night.
Sodiq Yusuff came out looking to end things early in the opening round. He immediately went on the offensive, lighting up Barboza with a series of strikes, including a nasty right hand that had Barboza rocked. Despite his best efforts, Yusuff was unable to finish Barboza on the feet and opted to take things to the canvas just past the two-minute mark of the opening round. Yusuff largely dominated on the ground, but Barboza was able to use the time on the mat to recover and offer up a few submission attempts to keep himself in the fight.
With Barboza seemingly recovered from the opening round onslaught, Yusuff pulled back on his aggressiveness. That allowed Barboza to begin his slow climb back into the driver’s seat. With little more than a minute in the second, Barboza landed a sneaky right hand that began to turn the tables in his favor. That trend continued in the third with Barboza beginning to land heavy body shots that appeared to take their toll on Yusuff.
The tide officially turned with 45 seconds to go in the third as Barboza landed a glancing spinning wheel kick that wobbled and dropped Yusuff. With Yusuff on the mat, Barboza moved in initially looking for a d’arce choke. He quickly gave up on the maneuver and opted to pepper Yusuff with strikes through the end of the round.
With the fourth round relatively close, it was anyone’s fight going into the fifth.
The final round saw things continue to stay even on the feet, but with 1:40 to go in the fight, Barboza landed a double leg and drove Yusuff to the mat. Yusuff worked his way back up but found himself pressed against the fence before being forced back down as the final second ticked off the clock.
Official Result: Edson Barboza def. Sodiq Yusuff via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-46, 48-46)
Check Out Highlights From Edson Barboza vs. Sodiq Yusuff at UFC Vegas 81 Below:
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) October 15, 2023
— Nina-Marie Daniele (@ninamdrama) October 15, 2023
WHAT A FIGHT.
Edson Barboza survives the first round to comeback to earn decision victory against Sodiq Yusuff 😮 #UFCVegas81
— Combat Sports Today 📰 (@CSTodayNews) October 15, 2023