UFC headliners Alex Grasso, Viviane Araujo enter Saturday’s matchup with tentative title aspirations

UFC headliners Alex Grasso, Viviane Araujo enter Saturday’s matchup with tentative title aspirations

LAS VEGAS – On Saturday, pinnacle women`s flyweight contenders Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araujo conflict in a headliner on the UFC Apex so that it will have a full-size effect at the UFC name image at one hundred twenty five pounds.

Exactly how full-size stays to be seen.

Mexico’s Grasso (14-three MMA, 6-three UFC) enters the UFC Fight Night 212 contest sitting withinside the No. five function withinside the promotion’s reputable women’s flyweight rankings. Meanwhile, Brazil’s Araujo (11-three MMA, five-2 UFC) falls simply at the back of at No. 6.

The winner of the five-spherical affair will in reality discover themselves in an enviable function withinside the division, however they will additionally in all likelihood want to attend till subsequent week’s UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi to recognise what they have got earned as a praise for victory. That pay-per-view occasion functions every other key matchup among No. 1 Katlyn Chookagian and No. 7 Manon Fiorot, in order to even have a large effect on what comes subsequent for reigning champ Valentina Shevchenko.

“Honestly, I do not recognise (what is subsequent), due to the fact there may be every other crucial combat,” Grasso stated. “The subsequent weekend, it is Fiorot vs. Chookagian, so I assume we are sort of the semifinals. We are the four. The champion goes to examine the only who does the best.”

Grasso and Araujo had been at first scheduled to fulfill in January, however the Brazilian suffered an harm in schooling and turned into compelled to withdraw. The had been then paired collectively in August, as well, however visa troubles for Grasso compelled it to be rescheduled as soon as again. Ultimately, it proved beneficial, as every fighter now steps right into a UFC headliner for the primary time.

“I’m very glad with this threat,” Araujo stated in her local Portuguese. “I’ve been dedicating myself, my life, quite much – 17 years – for martial arts, and having this threat to be in a major occasion is sort of a dream come true.”

Oddsmakers want Grasso, with the 29-year-vintage contender presently a -225 favourite at SI.Sportsbook.com, implying a almost 70 percentage possibility of victory. A boxing specialist, Grasso is famend for her punching prowess and could in all likelihood appearance to preserve the motion at the feet. Alex Grasso

“We studied her loads, and I’m prepared for her,” Araujo stated. “I recognise her boxing could be very right. She movements quite well, however I’m prepared. I turned into schooling a number of boxing and a number of wrestling, as well. My wrestling is sharp, so I’m prepared to take her down and preserve the combat at the ground.”

Meanwhile, the 35-year-vintage Araujo is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who does boast well-rounded abilties however might in all likelihood enjoy the motion taking area at the canvas. Grasso stated she has organized accordingly.

UFC headliners Alex Grasso, Viviane Araujo enter Saturday’s matchup with tentative title aspirations

“Honestly, she’s the hardest opponent I’ve educated for,” Grasso admitted. “She movements loads. She has right hands, and her most powerful weapon is her jiu-jitsu. She’s a black belt, and I assume that is a splendid undertaking for me. I’ve been enhancing loads in my jiu-jitsu game, and that is why I’m taking this opportunity. What else than a black belt to show yourself, you recognise?”

Reigning champ Shevchenko is presently taking part in time without work in her local Kyrgyzstan however will in reality be looking each UFC Fight Night 212 and subsequent week’s UFC 280 with eager interest. Who in the long run emerges as her subsequent foe stays to be seen.

“I’m quite certain that whoever wins this combat goes to be in a virtually right function and virtually right spot to be on the pinnacle of the division,” Araujo stated.

UFC Fight Night 212 streams in its entirety on ESPN+ (four p.m. ET).

This tale first posted at SI.com/MMA.

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