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Preview: UFC Fight Night 237 Prelims

Quinonez vs. Barcelos


The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s long-awaited return to Mexico offers an engaging set of prelims. UFC Fight Night 237 on Saturday at Mexico City Arena seems poised for an action-packed undercard, with all fights scheduled to take place at 155 pounds or below; and there is the expected smattering of Mexican talent, led by a featured prelim between bantamweight prospect Cristian Quinonez and Brazilian veteran Raoni Barcelos. Beyond that, there are plenty of entertaining flyweight scraps, along with one of the more intriguing threads without a Mexican contingent, as Peruvian kneebar specialist Claudio Puelles attempts to get back in the win column against Fares Ziam at 155 pounds.

Now to the preview for the UFC Fight Night 237 prelims:

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Bantamweights

Raoni Barcelos (17-5, 6-4 UFC) vs. Cristian Quinonez (18-4, 1-1 UFC)

ODDS: Barcelos (-175), Quinonez (+145)

This is some excellent matchmaking, as it pairs a prospect and a veteran who could each use a big win. Barcelos has had a solid UFC career, though it is hard not to focus on what could have been rather than what the Brazilian has actually accomplished. Barcelos came to the UFC at 30 years old with an athleticism-dependent style, so he figured to have a short window to charge up to a championship; and for two years, Barcelos looked like he might do just that, as he ran through his first five UFC opponents. However, injuries—to Barcelos and prospective opponents—kept him from getting an opportunity at a breakout victory, leaving him to take high-risk and low-reward fights until Timur Valiev picked him off in 2021. That started a skid of four losses in Barcelos’ last five fights, though he has still typically been competitive. Barcelos has historically found his way to victory through aggression, marching his opponents down and eating damage in order to gather information and take over the fight later on. With his recent bit of athletic slippage, that process has gotten a bit slower and made it more difficult for Barcelos to score wins on the margins. Quinonez comes along at an interesting time, since he could take the win with a sharp performance. The Mexican is theoretically at his best as a range striker, and while he has been able to feast at times when given stockier opponents, his success does feel a bit tenuous. Beyond Quinonez often falling into an unnecessary brawl, his last fight saw him get clubbed and subbed while going in for the kill against Kyung Ho Kang. Barcelos’ approach should give Quinonez some opportunity to land some hard shots early on, but unless the prospect can close the show, this looks like a fight where the Brazilian still has enough left in the tank to take things over. The pick is Barcelos via decision.

Jump To »
Quinonez vs. Barcelos
Mendonca vs. Aguilar
Chairez vs. da Silva
Ziam vs. Puelles
Rodriguez vs. Bondar
Dos Santos vs. Altamirano
Naimov vs. Silva

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