The UFC is back in the Apex this weekend! Live from Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend's card is headlined by a featherweight banger between rising star Sodiq Yusuff and Edson Barboza. In this article though, we are making our prediction for a big women's flyweight fight (and co-main event of this card) featuring Jennifer Maia and Viviane Araujo. Read on below to find our prediction and breakdown for this exciting matchup!
Jennifer Maia: Valuable Momentum Built Up
Jennifer Maia has done a brilliant job of building valuable momentum back up in this flyweight division.
Following losses to Kaitlyn Chookagian and Manon Fiorot last year, Maia has got her swagger back, picking up big wins over Maryna Moroz and Casey O'Neill, the latter being a huge rising star in a stacked division. We will get in to the stylistic matchup with Araujo in a moment, but it is safe to say that Jennifer Maia will be coming in to this fight with a lot of positivity and self belief, and with good reason.
Viviane Araujo: On A Losing Skid
Viviane Araujo finds herself on the exact opposite end of the spectrum to Jennifer Maia.
Unlike Maia, who is on a two fight winning streak, Viviane Araujo is on a two fight losing skid, and desperately needs to get some real momentum behind her, and soon. Not only has Araujo lost her last two fights, but she has also looked very, very poor in those fights. Her performances have dropped off quite starkly in those fights. She won't exactly be coming in to this fight feeling jubilant, but she will be hoping her experience will be enough to pick up some desperately needed momentum.
Jennifer Maia: Path to Victory – Grappling Experience Is Key
Truthfully, most of Jennifer Maia's success has come from decision wins. However, her grappling has often been the key that gets her there.
In this fight, Jennifer Maia is most likely going to rely on the wealth of grappling experience and control that she possesses, and will likely utilise her clinch game to try and control this fight against the side of the cage. Viviane Araujo has shown the occasional weakness in that area, so this could be a real area of opportunity for Jennifer Maia to exploit in this fight. If she is able to do this, then she stands a much higher chance of getting the result that she would like from this fight tonight.
Viviane Araujo: Path to Victory – Grappling and Distance Management
In truth, Viviane Araujo has a pretty similar path to victory as her opponent, Jennifer Maia, does.
Like Jennifer Maia, most of Araujo's victories have come via decision. And like Jennifer Maia, the key to that for Viviane Araujo has most often and commonly been her grappling and distance management. She will likely look to employ those same approaches in this fight, especially with a grappler as wily and experienced as Jennifer Maia.
As I mentioned above, an perhaps an interesting point of prediction, Araujo has shown tendencies to be weak against the cage, which is an area where Jennifer Maia especially thrives, so she will have to be extremely careful here if she is to have any chance of success in this fight.
Official Prediction: Jennifer Maia To Edge Decision Win
Truthfully, my prediction is that this is going to be a very dull and boring fight.
Both fighters in this matchup tend to decision their way to victory, which is never the most exciting spectacle in the world. Additionally, both fighters don't exactly set the world alight with their striking either. So my prediction is that this fight is mostly going to come down to who is simply on a better run of form, and has the momentum – and that is clearly Jennifer Maia.
Don't get me wrong – Viviane Araujo COULD pull off the win, but realistically, it is very hard to reasonably offer that prediction to you, especially given the recent form of both of these fighters. Expect Jennifer Maia to continue her winning streak here at the expense of Araujo.
Official prediction – Jennifer Maia to defeat Viviane Araujo via unanimous decision.
So, there we have it! Make sure to not miss this card from the UFC Apex; there are some banging fights on this card, and you do NOT want to miss them!