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Preview: UFC on ESPN 47 Prelims

Barcelos vs. Johns


The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s return to the UFC Apex on Saturday in Las Vegas comes with the usual prelim assortment of well-matched bouts between fighters looking to sort out some things. Raoni Barcelos-Miles Johns should make for an entertaining featured prelim at bantamweight, capping off a run of fights focused on the lighter-weight classes, including four fights at 125 pounds. A 135-pound encounter between Kyung Ho Kang and Cristian Quinonez stands out in terms of potential fireworks, and there is still the requisite level of beef on the UFC on ESPN 47 card, as a light heavyweight fight between Zac Pauga and Modestas Bukauskas opens the show.

Now to the preview for the UFC on ESPN 47 “Vettori vs. Cannonier” prelims:

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Bantamweights

Raoni Barcelos (17-4, 6-3 UFC) vs. Miles Johns (13-2, 4-2 UFC)

ODDS: Barcelos (-215), Johns (+185)

Barcelos’ window for title contention now looks to have firmly closed, but he should still hold serve as a stalwart of the bantamweight division for the next few years. The Brazilian was a fully formed talent upon hitting the UFC in 2018, fighting behind an approach centered around aggression at all levels. Barcelos would start slow and eat some offense early but all in the name of finding his reads and eventually running over his opponents by the later stretches of his fights. After a 2019 win over Said Nurmagomedov marked Barcelos’ fourth straight victory inside the Octagon, the UFC finally seemed ready to pull the trigger and move Barcelos up the ladder, only for every opportunity to fall by the wayside. Matchups against Cody Stamann, Merab Dvalishvili and Raphael Assuncao all got scrapped for one reason or another. Instead, Barcelos was left to take on late replacements in fights that were all risk and no reward, eventually getting outmaneuvered by Timur Valiev and outpaced by Victor Henry for two damaging losses that saw him fall back to the pack. A dominant win over Trevin Jones was a reminder of how good Barcelos can look against an overmatched opponent, but after a one-sided loss to Umar Nurmagomedov in January, he now seems firmly on action gatekeeper duty, which is where he finds himself in this assignment. Johns is a prospect who still has some potential but has yet to put together a game that matches the sum of its parts. “Chapo” came into the UFC most effective as a wrestler, and he has done well to develop as a striker, even if those gains have come with him abandoning the wrestling that brought him to the dance. As a result, Johns’ recent fights have followed a relatively clear through line. Everything clicks if Johns is given time and space to work, but opponents who have applied consistent pressure—most notably John Castaneda in early 2022—have been able to take Johns out of his comfort zone and find some openings as a result. Barcelos is in very much the latter camp, making this the Brazilian’s fight to lose, barring either age finally taking its toll or Johns suddenly finding a new level. The pick is Barcelos via second-round stoppage.

Jump To »
Barcelos vs. Johns
Costa vs. Flick
Quinonez vs. Kang
Bondar vs. Hernandez
Zhumagulov vs. Bunes
Bleda vs. Fernandes
Lawrence vs. Argueta
Bukauskas vs. Pauga
More Fight Odds

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