The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s best event of October includes a strong undercard, with all nine fights providing some level of intrigue. Strawweights lead the way at UFC 267 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where the featured prelim sees Amanda Ribas look to rebound from her first Octagon loss in a stern test against Virna Jandiroba, who might be the most underrated competitor in the division. Beyond that, there is the distinctly Russian flavor that is to be expected from most UFC shows out of the Middle East. However, the most tantalizing prospect on this slate might be England’s Lerone Murphy, who gets a solid challenge against Makwan Amirkhani. All in all, this should make for a good time—and a much-needed one after a month that has occasionally struggled to find some bright spots.
Now to the preview for the UFC 267 “Blachowicz vs. Teixeira” prelims:
Women’s Strawweights#10 WSW | Amanda Ribas (10-2, 4-1 UFC) vs. #12 WSW | Virna Jandiroba (17-2, 3-2 UFC)
ODDS: Ribas (-160), Jandiroba (+140)
Not much was expected of Ribas upon entering the UFC. Her resume on the regional scene was not anything particularly impressive, and the start of her UFC career got delayed almost two years due to some issues with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. However, once Ribas finally hit the Octagon in 2019, she was an absolute revelation, earning a one-sided victory over Emily Whitmire while showing superstar-level personality and charisma in her post-fight interview. After derailing the more hyped Mackenzie Dern in her sophomore UFC effort, the Brazilian continued her breakout campaign in 2020 with wins over Randa Markos and Paige VanZant, the latter of which was a showcase victory on a prominent stage. That all figured to continue with her January bout against Marina Rodriguez. Unfortunately for Ribas, Rodriguez had other plans. While Ribas relied on her wrestling and grappling for an absolutely one-sided first round, Rodriguez managed to sting her early in the second round and close the show shortly thereafter. Ribas remains a high-upside prospect, both in terms of fighting and promotional potential, but she gets a tough bounce-back fight here. Jandiroba came to the UFC in 2019 after a successful campaign in Invicta Fighting Championships and figured to be a known quantity as a highly effective submission artist with a solid wrestling game but without much in the way of striking or athletic upside. That held true through her first three UFC fights—a difficult debut against Carla Esparza and submission wins over Mallory Martin and Felice Herrig—but Jandiroba showed some decent striking in a December loss to Dern, even if she was overmatched against the more physical and aggressive fighter. That paved the way for a breakout performance against Kanako Murata in June. It may not have been Jandiroba’s most prominent victory, but it allowed her to show off a suddenly effective striking game that looks to have some sneaky power. Without that performance, this fight would be an easy call for Ribas, but Jandiroba showed enough against Murata to make this interesting, as she can obviously hold her own on the mat and now may have some answers for her countrywoman on the feet. Still, Ribas has to be the favorite as the much stronger athlete, even if there is nowhere near as much separating these two as their recent levels of hype would suggest. This is one of the closer fights on a stacked card. The pick is Ribas via decision.
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