Sodiq Yusuff plans to have “a striking fest” with Edson Barboza at UFC Vegas 81: “I don’t think me or Edson are planning on going five rounds”

By Cole Shelton - October 11, 2023

Sodiq Yusuff is thrilled to be headlining his first UFC main event.

Sodiq Yusuff and UFC Vegas 81

Yusuff hasn’t fought since October of last year when he beat Don Shainis by submission in 30 seconds. After the win, Sodiq wanted a quick turnaround. But unfortunately, just a week or two after the fight he suffered a serious back injury.

“Going into that fight, I was banged up. Then right after, I had a bad back injury,” Yusuff said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “Like the next week or two after, I herniated a couple of discs in my back, a really bad L4, and L5. I was barely able to stand up for a long time. It took a long time to rehab, a couple of cortisone shots. It took a long time for me to even walk, let alone train. A couple of times I felt I was good and would get back to training and feel a pop and it was right back to square one again. So, that’s what took so long.”

Once Sodiq Yusuff was able to train and take a fight, he was booked to headline UFC Vegas 81 against Edson Barboza. It’s a fight that was supposed to happen back in October of 2020, so nearly three years to the day, Yusuff is thrilled to get the chance to face the Brazilian.

“I was scheduled to fight Edson during the pandemic on Fight Island but I didn’t have a passport. I was very excited to get the fight then and when it fell through it was disappointing,” Yusuff said. “It’s a big name to have for my legacy as everyone knows what Edson Barboza brings to the Octagon. Now that it’s the main event, it’s a little extra bonus.”

Although this will be the first time Sodiq Yusuff headlines a card, he doubts his UFC Vegas 81 fight against Edson Barboza will go the distance.

Instead, Yusuff is confident in his striking ability that he will catch Barboza and knock him out in the second round.

“I don’t think me or Edson are planning on going five rounds… We are two dangerous strikers. I honestly think it will be a finish, a second-round finish unless Edson plans on putting on his wrestling shoes, which I highly doubt. It’s going to be a striking fest. There’s a reason why they put us as the main event. Both of us have shown a pretty consistent pattern of how we fight,” Yusuff said.

If Yusuff gets the KO win, he isn’t sure what it does for him. But, he’s ready to be more active and make his climb up the featherweight ranks.

“It’s about time for me to start making a move. I’m 6-1 in the UFC,” Yusuff concluded.