Rising Nigerian UFC featherweight contender, Sodiq Yusuff has expressed regret for missing an early knockout opportunity in the first round of his fight against the future Hall of Famer Edson Barboza at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas after suffering a unanimous decision loss to the Brazilian.
Sodiq Yusuff who returned to the octagon after over a year started the fight brightly as he rocked 37-year-old Barboza with power shots sending the UFC veteran to the canvas but failed to get the early knockout.
Barboza who fought the rest of the fight with a significantly bruised face gradually got back into the fight and earned a knockdown in the third round after his spinning kick connected to the head of the Nigerian followed by a takedown and a flurry of punches. Yusuff, however, held on and saw out the round.
The Brazilian controlled the rest of the fight as Sodiq Yusuff failed to get back the rhythm, pace, and accuracy he showed in the first round.
Although Sodiq Yusuff nearly got a first-round finish, according to the judges, Barboza won the next four rounds to earn a unanimous decision win 49-46 and 48-46.
Reacting to the loss, a clearly distraught Yusuff said he is unhappy with his performance as he felt he has disappointed his coaches and fans but is confident of returning stronger.
“It really sucks to lose. I feel I let my coaches down, I let my fans down. I should have picked my shots better in the first round to win the fight but I was overzealous,” he said after the fight.
“I’m still a young fighter and I know I will bounce back stronger. I lost to an OG I watched while growing up but it still sucks to lose this fight.
Yusuff had been hoping to get a third consecutive win in the UFC after his wins against Alex Caceres via unanimous decision in March of 2022 and a submission win over Dan Shanis in 30 seconds on October 1, 2022.