Barcelos vs. Jones: Two Bantamweights Looking to Curb Their Bad Luck Lock Horns at UFC Vegas 61

UFC Vegas 13 Raoni Barcelos Khalid Taha
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 07: (R-L) Raoni Barcelos of Brazil punches Khalid Taha of Germany in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

During the past two years, a time that has been plagued by a global pandemic, we’ve seen fighters be the subjects of some awfully bad luck, from cancelled fights to not being able to find a fight. UFC Vegas 61 bantamweights Raoni Barcelos and Trevin Jones are two fighters whose luck has been as bad as anyone’s.

The two 135’ers lock horns this coming Saturday, with one of them guaranteed to turn their bad luck into some good momentum. Since 2020, both fighters have had six fights cancelled each, with them previously scheduled to meet in the cage at the end of last year.

Barcelos’ last outing was against Victor Henry back in January this year and Jones’ last appearance was against the extremely impressive Javid Basharat in March. Both men in question were defeated in their respective bouts, heightening the stakes in this meeting even further. Prior to his back-to-back losses, Barcelos had only tasted defeat once before and it was back in 2014, whereas Jones has always struggled to string together a good run of victories.

Rewinding back to the Brazilian’s last fight, he was completely out-struck by Henry, 222 to 134. Not only that, but he also only secured a single takedown out of an attempted seven, finishing at a 14% success rate. He just couldn’t get his offence going. In his fight before that against Valiev, he exhibited how hard it is to get him down to the mat. Valiev attempted six takedowns in their 15 minute fight, not securing a single one.

Switching to “5 Star” Jones, the theme was pretty similar during his last outing. He was marginally out-struck by Basharat 89 to 62 with Javid being the more comfortable of the two in the striking department. As well as that, Jones attempted three takedowns in that fight, not being able to secure one.

Trevin Jones and Javid Basharat, UFC Vegas 50
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 12: (L-R) Javid Basharat of England punches Trevin Jones of Guam in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 12, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

In Barcelos’ win over Taha, he did a great job in the first round of eating away at Taha’s lead leg. Not only this, but he also entered his exchanges by throwing a front kick to back Taha up.

There is no doubt that Barcelos is the more seasoned of the two, and his vast amount of experience could play dividends in this match-up. The former LFA featherweight champion has an arsenal of different attacks and strong sides of his game that he could utilise in this fight. Jones’ nature of coming up short, in eight losses three have been via split decision, curbing his bad luck could be something he struggles with, especially against someone of Barcelos’ ilk.

Jones may look to make his 3″ reach advantage pay by staying on the outside, and it is interesting to note that in two of Barcelos’ losses, he was at a reach disadvantage.

The 35-year-old Brazilian currently finds himself as the favourite (-250) to get back into the winning column, with Jones’ + (+200) money being something that may tempt fans into backing the underdog.

In 21 fights, Jones has never had his lights turned out, and in 16 victories for Raoni, eight have came by way of knockout. My prediction is that Raoni Barcelos’ experience will pay off during this fight, and I see a world in which he gets it done by submission. Failing that, I can see him sailing to a decision victory — but this main card affair will be one of watch, with both men highly motivated to turn things around.


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