Yusuff vs Allen Preview and Prediction - 4/10/21
Sodiq Yusuff (11-1-0) vs Arnold Allen (16-1-0)
The co-main event has two top featherweight prospects battling it out. Both men are undefeated in the UFC and this is some excellent matchmaking right here.
Sodiq Yusuff has won his first four UFC fights. His last fight was a competitive bout against Andre Fili in January of 2020. Six of his wins have come by form of knockout and the other five victories were through decision. Prior to the Fili fight, he defeated Gabriel Benitez, Sheymon Moraes, and Suman Mokhtarian.
Arnold Allen has won his first seven UFC fights. His last fight saw him win a decision over UFC veteren, Nik Lentz. He has scored five wins by KO/TKO, four by submission, and seven by decision. The southpaw will have a 1 inch reach advantage in this one.
HOW THEY MATCH UP
Yusuff is a huge featherweight. I’m surprised he makes the weight honestly. He has proven to be an effective striker with good footwork. He keeps his hands high which does leave him open to takedowns but he’s so athletic that no one has had any success holding him down. He usually pops right back up, although he does tend to give his back in the process. One thing that was concerning in his last fight was how much he slowed down in the third round against Fili. He was ahead by two rounds and elected to coast, which can be a terrible strategy in a close fight.
Allen is an excellent striker in his own right. He has great jabs and deceiving naked uppercuts. He stays really light on his feet and moves around the cage very well. He also showed no signs of fatigue in his three round war last fight. The fighter from England also has a very dangerous guillotine choke.
If it weren’t for the huge discrepancy in athleticism, I’d probably side with Allen. We saw Yusuff defeat an incredibly dangerous striker last time and he mixed in takedowns to control his opponent on the ground for long stretches. I expect him to utilize this strategy here as well. I just can’t see Allen being able to get up from underneath if he finds himself in this position. Yusuff will need to avoid the guillotine if he does shoot for a double but it shouldn’t be too much trouble seeing he will have the strength advantage.. If Yusuff doesn’t employ this strategy though it’s going to be a very close fight on the feet. Allen’s cardio edge could also come into play the longer this fight goes. I’m going to bank on Yusuff using wrestling when he doesn’t win the stand up exchanges. We saw him do it before and there’s no reason to think he would abandon that strat now.