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An interesting fight in the Bantamweight division is upon us, as Raoni Barcelos takes on UFC newcomer Victor ‘La Mangosta’ Henry. Returning for the second time in 2021, Barcelos will seek to end the year with a victory. Having most recently seen a nine-fight win streak that spanned for seven years snapped, Barcelos will need to get back on track to remain in the mix in a seemingly crowded Bantamweight division. Meanwhile, Henry steps into his UFC debut on short notice. A well-known fighter on the regional scene, Henry will finally get his chance to showcase his abilities in the UFC. No stranger to fighting tough competition, Henry is one of the more UFC ready fighters debuting in some time.
Despite dropping his first fight in seven years, I consider Raoni Barcelos as one of the dark horses in the Bantamweight division. A former wrestler for the Brazil national team, a BJJ black belt and an evolving striking, Barcelos is a complete fighter. Often doing an excellent job mixing up his attack, Barcelos is not only landing 5.39 significant strikes per minute, but nearly two takedowns per fifteen minutes. Dangerous wherever, Barcelos has won ten of his sixteen victories via stoppage. This fight however won’t be easy, as Victor Henry brings in a wealth of success and experience. Fighting for promotions such as DEEP, RIZIN, Pancrase, KOTC and BAMMA, Henry has been able to fight some of the best around the world. With wins over Masakatsu Ueda, Yuki Montaya, Anderson dos Santos and Albert Morales, Henry has proven that he is ready to take on the best the UFC offers.
As for a prediction, I’m siding with Barcelos. Despite being high on Henry, I believe that Barcelos is not only the better striker, but his grappling should be able to neutralize La Mangosta’s excellent grappling. The one real concern I have in this fight, is if Henry pressures and brings forth a hard pace, we could see a defensively lax and tired Barcelos in the later rounds. Then again, Barcelos 6-1 in decisions, two of which went twenty-five minutes. So with that said, I predict that Barcelos gets it done via decision.