Women’s FlyweightsViviane Araujo (8-2) vs. Montana De La Rosa (11-5)
ODDS: Araujo (-175), De La Rosa (+155)
Despite a terrible ending to the year, 2019 still has to be considered a breakout campaign for Araujo. A career strawweight prior to her UFC debut, Araujo stepped in on short notice up two weight classes at UFC 237, where she put on an excellent performance before scoring a knockout of Talita Bernardo. Rather than head back down to 115 pounds, “Vivi” decided to ply her trade at flyweight, and early returns were good: Her fast and aggressive striking game was on point in a one-sided win over Alexis Davis. However, her loss to Jessica Eye in December halted all of that momentum. There’s no shame in losing to Eye, but the Brazilian had few answers when the former title challenger finally found her groove. Ultimately, Araujo was picked apart by Eye’s jab, all while losing her composure and getting visibly tired. Araujo looks to rebound against De La Rosa, who has quietly developed over the last few years, though she remains in search of a breakout win. Primarily a grappling and submission artist, De La Rosa has been able to run over her weaker UFC opponents, but her 2019 loss to Andrea Lee did raise some concerns about her ceiling against stronger or superior athletes. While the Texan is a dangerous submission threat, there just is not much danger or aggression when it comes to actually imposing that part of her game. While De La Rosa is a larger and better athlete than Davis, this does feel like a similar sort of win for Araujo, who should be fast enough to get in and out of the pocket and rack up damage while the Elevation Fight Team rep attempts to chase her down. Araujo has a tendency to flag, so there is certainly a chance that De La Rosa can finally get something going in the third round, but even then, the former Pancrase champion’s wrestling and grappling have held up surprisingly well for someone who should be physically outgunned. The pick is Araujo via decision.
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