Brazil’s Viviane Araujo is in Abu Dhabi this week for the first time since 2014, when she visited the UAE capital to compete in jiu-jitsu.
The stakes are arguably much higher this time out, however. Coming off a win over Montana De La Rosa, Araujo has been paired up with a pioneer in female fighting, Roxanne Modafferi, at UFC Fight Island 8. The duo were originally scheduled to fight on January 30, likely in Vegas — but the bout, along with several others, was pulled forward.
The timing, Araujo told Cageside Press during a virtual media day to promote the event, doesn’t change anything. “No, it didn’t affect me. We were already training, we already knew about the fight. Studying the tapes and everything,” Araujo said via translator. “It really didn’t affect me.”
When it comes to fighting Modafferi, who has a wealth of experience dating back to the early 2000s, Araujo recognizes that “she’s a very experienced opponent. She’s a very tough opponent. We know that she likes to use her ground game.” And so, Araujo and her team have prepared with that in mind. “We’ve built up a game plan around that, trying to take her out.”
But what might happen if Modafferi decides to keep things standing? In a recent interview with Cageside Press, “The Happy Warrior” suggested she was comfortable wherever the fight goes.
A bit of stand-up wouldn’t surprise Araujo. “I think she might try to strike with me. From what we see, she’s improved a lot in her striking,” the Brazilian observed. “But ultimately I think she’s going to take me down. I’m also a black belt in jiu-jitsu, so it’s going to be good to show my ground game, which I haven’t been able to show in the UFC.”
Araujo was perhaps just a little taken aback by even landing Roxy only five fights into her UFC career. But as she pointed out, “my second fight i nthe UFC, I already got a pretty tough opponent in Alexis Davis. Just to be able to fight and be among the top ten, it really motivates me to go out there.”
One thing will feel just a little odd come fight night, however: competing on a Wednesday. “It’s weird,” admitted Araujo.
Viviane Araujo faces Roxanne Modafferi on the main card of UFC Fight Island 8 this Wednesday, January 20 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The main card action kicks off at 12PM ET.