UFC Fight Island Betting Pick: Roxanne Modafferi vs Viviane Araujo

No, say it ain’t so!

I really never wanted to see these two ladies fight. I’m a big fan of both and have trained with Roxy for years at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas. Vivi is one of my favorite up and coming fighters and she has been looking better than ever as of late.

Roxy, while not slowing down very much at all at the age of 38, has always been limited athletically and that is precisely where her Brazilian counterpart shines. The fast guys and girls slow down and struggle while Roxy has always been slow.

That’s like the time I partially tore my left bicep and I regained all of my strength in just a few weeks of rehab. Heck, it even looks better now than it did before the injury. At least I have a cut in the muscle now.

Roxy has more mileage on her body than probably any other woman fighting in the UFC right now, though, and that really counts against her at times. She is just such a diligent hard worker who lives a very healthy lifestyle of never partying with drugs and alcohol.

Her current strength and conditioning coach, Lorenzo at Primetime Performance 1 is an exceptional coach and human and his S&C work doesn’t stop with the body. He is always training his clients’ minds and souls as well.

Please Note:

Rox is in a good place and from the looks of her social media, it appears she has a boyfriend now and even if he wasn’t a distraction at all, it’s very hard to back Modafferi in this fight. She lacks physicality and Araujo does not.

Vivi is 34 years old, though, just 4 years the younger of The Happy Warrior. Both women stay in great shape so I don’t think conditioning will play a major role in this contest. It is all going to be about whether or not Rox gets the takedown.

I don’t foresee her out striking the Brazilian or being overly dominant in the clinch. Vivi does have kind of a small frame for the 125 pound division with some extra muscle on there. She is just 5’5” tall while Rox will be 5’7” with a 1 inch reach advantage.

BetOnline has the betting odds for this fight. Let’s take a look at those and make our predictions for the winner of Roxanne Modafferi vs Viviane Araujo.

Viviane Araujo (-315) vs Roxanne Modafferi (+280)

Writing about a Roxanne Modafferi fight is always fun for me because I am such a fan and nobody was in Syndicate MMA more than her when I was there so you have to love her but for these same reasons, it is always a challenge.

I remember it was about this time last year when Roxanne Modafferi closed as a (+525) underdog and her odds at one point even got higher than 7 to 1. Whoever brought it back down had a nice pay day, I’m sure.

She fought Maycee Barber on January 18th, 2020, and took it to the confident Coloradan for 3 rounds for the massive upset win. I admit that I picked against her there and it still haunts me.

Maycee Barber vs Roxanne Modafferi - January 2020

Maycee Barber is a stocky striker, 5’5” tall, the same height as Viviane Araujo. Hmm…

Is Maycee Barber a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the legendary Saulo Ribero? Not quite…She’s a blue belt albeit with three stripes and in hindsight, that fight had upset written all over it.

We haven’t said much about Vivi and she is one of my favorite female fighters. I really enjoy her athletic in-and-out style of striking. She has plenty of bounce in her thick legs. It is those legs, though, that have her fighting in a weight class possibly too high…at least for title contention.

I think she would be a problem for any woman at 115. I don’t know how much the woman weighs but Roxy will definitely be the bigger fighter in there on Wednesday, January 20th.

The Happy Warrior will have a 3-inch height advantage according to ufcstats.com. They are saying Vivi is 5’4” while tapology.com says 5’5”. Many fighters will be skipping leg on the regular to keep their weight class.

The more muscle you put onto a frame, the smaller the frame has to be to make the weight. Does that make sense?

Vivi never skips leg day and it doesn’t look like her mother or father ever did either. The problem is that muscles get tired, bones don’t, and we have seen Araujo slow down in her fights. It usually isn’t until the third round but Roxy doesn’t stop so she had better leave something in the tank for the final 5.

If this is a striking battle, I favor Vivi to win 80% of the time so the obvious question we have to ask in most mixed martial arts contests is this: Can Araujo defend the takedowns of Modafferi and/or get up off the bottom and disengage?

Araujo is a black belt but so is Roxy and Modafferi was in the gi in Japan training Judo 15 years ago. I favor Roxy to be able to hold Araujo down should they hit the mat. That doesn’t mean I think the fight will get there.

And you see the betting line so the sportsbooks surely think the Brazilian will be able to keep the fight standing and out strike the slower Modafferi. Araujo also throws with more volume landing 4.77 significant strikes per minute with an outstanding 50% rate.

Those are also powerful impactful noisy shots and this is, of course, in a virtually empty arena. I’ve been a fighter, cornerman, fan, and even a judge. When you are that close and you hear it, that leaves an impression!

Roxy lands 3 significant strikes per minute and at a 30% clip. She is 20% points back in accuracy and nearly 2 strikes a minute.

What about the takedown defense, though?

Only 92%. I feel like that’s money but just ask all the square money that skyrocketed Maycee Barber’s betting odds a year ago against Modafferi. Roxy was “old” then too. She has mileage too as well as years!

That is one of the things that makes what she has been able to do in the UFC so remarkable.

Flash back to the first professional mixed martial arts bout of Modafferi’s career…in 2003! I was at Osan Air Base, South Korea and she was across the proverbial pond in Japan fighting Hikaru Shinohawa.

Modafferi won that fight and her next three before suffering the first loss of her career. Fast forward to May 2010 and she has an impressive record of 14-5 and coming off of a loss avenged against fellow OG in the women’s MMA game, Tara LaRosa.

Roxy then lost her next 5 fights but still got the call from the UFC to be on Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter. While Modafferi made a lot of fans from her amazingly nice personality on the show, the weight class was 135 pounds and Modafferi was better suited where she is now at the Flyweight limit of 125.

She won her first fight against Valerie Letourneau but suffered an absolutely vicious KO on the show and then lost to another now long time UFC vet, Raquel Pennington. You would think this would be an all time low for The Happy Warrior.

She’s essentially lost 7 of 8 fights and “blew” her chance at the UFC. She is already 32 at this point and exiting her prime, or so she thought.

Modafferi went to Invicta and won 4 of her next 6 fights and the UFC came calling again and this time, she would get her shot on The Ultimate Fighter at a weight class where she isn’t completely out muscled.

She won 2 fights during the season this time but lost to Sijara Eubanks. On the finale, though, Sarge couldn’t do it so Roxy got her opportunity to win the season against a future full time training partner in Nicco Montano.

Nicco Montano Kicks Roxanne Modafferi in the TUF 26

Montano was a little too much for Roxy that night but it is what it is. She isn’t going to win the world title this year. It would be nice to see her get another win. I know for a fact that she doesn’t have one foot out of the door.

I am seeing how hard and how much she is training every day on her IG as well as her coach’s.

She will come in shape and come to fight but Vivi is going to be too fast for her and the Brazilian’s opponents are 1/14 on their takedown attempts on her inside the Octagon during her UFC career.

Now, Vivi is the side here. Do we think she is going to get the finish on Modafferi? Roxy hasn’t been put away since the nasty KO on The Ultimate Fighter and that was up a weight class.

History tells us that yes, Vivi, who has 3 decisions in her 4 UFC fights, will likely win on the judges’ scorecards next Wednesday.

History told us that Jacare would control Kevin Holland from top position but The Trail Blazer hit him so hard, he thought he was back in a Jiu Jitsu match and just sat up in open guard without trying to protect himself.

I really think that’s what happened and I think Viviane Araujo is going to put away Roxanne Modafferi next Wednesday night on Fight Island. The larger cage will help her execute the in-and-out style.

Araujo’s one knockout in the UFC came by way of overhand right. When you’re the shorter fighter, the overhand is your baby. Any time I go up against someone taller, they are going to eat a few of those.

I might take something in return but you have to go at that. Another thing is that there is a height differential but the reach is only one inch. This lines the overhand right up even better. The only thing is that Rox doesn’t stand tall.

She keeps her chin tucked nicely in her stance. The problem is that she does get her head popped up at times. I can see Vivi darting in with a jab to open up the chin and bringing the hammer over the top.

Speed kills.

My Pick
Araujo by TKO

In Conclusion

We went deep today. I hope you guys can take something from this article and apply it to your betting game.

Shorter fighter but a semi equal over even better reach could spell trouble for the tall one. If they stand up straight, they may be laying down straight in a few seconds. This is especially true if you can get them backing up to the cage.

Araujo isn’t the one to dominate the Octagon with pressure. She is comfortably using her speed and athleticism to move in and out of range. I just don’t see Rox being able to stop the jab of Araujo.

Vivi is too fast and at the age of 38, your reaction time begins to slow. Modafferi has always been hittable as well.

This fight is next Wednesday night and I don’t expect the betting line to move too much farther than it already has.

Speed, youth, and physicality win this time.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.