UFC experts Will Dean and Kieran Cobley preview this weekend's action, with selections across both the prelims and the main card.
- Prelims preview by Will Dean
- Main event preview by Kieran Cobley
Distance play in main event
This weekend's UFC card is without a doubt one for the more hardcore MMA fans, one seriously lacking in star power and featuring several fights that on paper look like they could be fairly uninteresting affairs that will go the distance.
That isn't necessarily a bad thing when it comes to finding bets, however.
Michelle Waterson takes on Angela Hill in the main event, with both women's styles made for long, drawn out fights that usually end up going to decisions.
Hill has seen 13 of her 20 pro bouts go the distance, with four of her last six being decided by the judges. Waterson meanwhile has been to the judges’ scorecards nine times over the course of her 25 pro-fight career. The Karate Hottie does have a mean streak and has finished 12 out of her 17 wins, but this looks to have deserted her recently, with her last six bouts going the distance and her last to finish early coming in 2017.
I expect Hill to try and steamroll through Waterson with her striking, while Waterson will look to sit back and just pick her shots to point-score her way to a win, while also utilising her wrestling skills to take Hill down if she feels she is in danger.
Their styles really should make for a fight that goes the distance and while that's reflected in the odds, putting this fight in a distance double looks the way to make Saturday's card pay.
Roxanne to put on a show
The other fight we're focusing on sees Andrea Lee taking on women’s MMA pioneer Roxanne Modaffari in a rematch and it's one the latter can win by decision.
These two first fought each other back in 2014, where Modafferi edged a split decision win, and that’s how I see this fight finishing as well.
Lee has seen eight of her 15 fights go the distance, with six decisions in her last seven. The last time Lee was in a fight that finished early was also back in 2017, where she submitted Jamie Thornton in her last bout before joining the UFC.
In the other corner you have Modafferi, a veteran fighter with 41 fights on her record, with 28 of those having gone the distance.
The Happy Warrior might be one of the most infuriating fighters to watch, with her game plan just being to take the fight to the mat, before controlling her opponent for the round while chipping away with a few shots, but never looking like a threat to finish. While this style is infuriating for the spectator, it is effective, and she's taken 15 wins by decision.
I expect Modafferi to utilise that game plan again, taking Lee down early on each round before chipping away with a few shots and holding the position, with this strategy allowing her to win on the judges' scorecards.
Be fast and back Schnell
Matt Schnell has proven to be a staple part of the UFC’s lower weight divisions, having amassed a 4-3 record with the organisation. He fights at a rapid pace, throwing a large number of strikes as he looks to end the fight. Schnell is also a dangerous submission threat, with eight victories via tap out.
Standing across from him in the cage on Saturday night is Tyson Nam, an aptly-named striker with serious power, having won 11 of his 19 victories by knockout. Fighting at 125lbs at 36 years old, he is at a speed disadvantage against most of his rivals. This was evident in his first two UFC bouts, where he was decisively out-struck by both opponents.
With that being said, it is widely believed that power is the last thing a fighter will surrender to age, so Nam is certainly still dangerous. He proved in his last bout, winning by knockout in 32 seconds.
With everything we know about these two competitors, this seems easier to break down than most. Schnell will dictate the pace of the fight and where it takes place, resulting in a fairly comfortable victory if he avoids the thunderous right hand of Nam.
While I am aware a knockout from the Hawaiian is possible, I do not think Schnell should be the underdog at all. Nam has lost every completed round of competition he has fought in the UFC (six in total) and only seems to have one path to victory in this fight.
On the other hand, Schnell possesses an opportunistic submission threat and will likely be the winner on the judges’ scorecards if neither are able to find a finish. For my money, he’s the value bet of the preliminaries.
Matt Frevola is one of the grittiest and determined fighters we have seen inside the Octagon in recent years. What Steamrolla lacks in the way of striking finesse, he more than certainly makes up for in aggression, pressure and endurance.
He has been the underdog in his last three UFC bouts, where he was thought to be at a significant skill disadvantage to each of his opponents. In all three of these fights, he lasted the full 15 minutes and dragged his opponents into deep waters, managing two decision victories and a draw. His wrestling has made the difference in these bouts, averaging 3.3 takedown attempts per fight.
Roosevelt Roberts, a highly touted graduate of Dana White’s Contender Series, will be the much more polished striker of the two. Standing at 6ft 2in, he is a patient fighter who asserts his dominance by fighting behind a stiff jab.
While that presents issues for his opponent in the beginnings of each round, The Predator has struggled to keep fights on the feet. Roberts has defended just 58% of the takedowns he has faced in the UFC, and has lost every round bar one where he has been put on his back.
Frevola is certainly the better grappler of the two, and should be able to land takedowns here.
He may struggle to do so at first, but we have seen grappling opportunities open up against Roberts as fights enter the second and third rounds. Thankfully for Frevola, Roberts does not appear to wield too much power in his hands, so this fight is likely to enter the latter stages, where the tide can turn.
In all three of Frevola’s recent fights, he has unanimously won the third round on every judge’s scorecard. Against Lando Vannata he was knocked down on two occasions but still managed to win two rounds of the fight.
When analysing bouts that are most likely to go to decision, it is important to factor in cardio, durability and mettle into the equation, as there is every chance that the final five minutes will decide matters. Frevola has these qualities in abundance and is the type of competitor that will really fight for your money. I fancy him to land enough takedowns to convince the judges, notching his third decision victory in a row.
Posted at 1245 BST on 10/09/20
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