Roxanne Modafferi, a pioneer in MMA dating back to the early 2000s, was in action at UFC Fight Island 8 on Wednesday. “The Happy Warrior” was a slight underdog heading into her flyweight fight with Brazil’s Viviane Araujo, a dangerous striker with a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Both fighters were entering off wins, Modafferi against KGB Lee, and Araujo against Montana De La Rosa. But while Modafferi was a slight underdog on paper, she would have a sizeable advantage in experience.
Through the first two minute, Araujo was able to stay in her comfort zone on the feet. Modafferi ate a number of jabs and hooks, which had her showing damage around the eye. In an exchange, Araujo snapped off a right hand, which both fighters were on the move. That caught Modafferi, briefly dropping her. As time ticked away, it seemed more and more imperative that Modafferi get the fight to the ground. Instead, she ate another right hook. Finally, with 50 seconds or so remaining, Modafferi ducked under a punch and engaged a body lock. But while working the takedown, Araujo reversed, took the back, and locked on a rear-naked choke, which Modafferi rode out to the buzzer.
Araujo continued to do damage on the feet in the second. That led to a sloppy shot in by Modafferi, easily fought off by the Brazilian. They tied up briefly by the fence, before moving back to center. Modafferi connected with a couple of leg kicks, and worked her jab. Later in the round, Modafferi landed a right hand that hurt Araujo. She couldn’t convert it into anything more, however. But Araujo had been at least put on notice that when she landed, Roxy could do damage. She may have had that in mind when Araujo opted to change levels and take Modafferi down. Modafferi, who had been cut by an earlier jab, finished the round on her back.
The third round saw Modafferi finally score a takedown, from the back. But Viviane Araujo was able to power out. Modafferi tied things up again, only for Araujo to initiate the next takedown. They didn’t stay down long, but Araujo’s ability to escape out, land her own takedowns, and dominate on the feet was allowing her to pull away. Not going quietly, Modafferi would connect with a punch of her own again, getting Araujo’s attention for the second time in the fight. Araujo wound up taking the fight down in the final minute. Modafferi worked from her back, looking for an arm-bar. But Araujo worked to side control, allowing her to ride out the round.
Official Result: Viviane Araujo def. Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)