UFC 246: McGregor vs Cowboy | Televised Prelim Predictions

UFC 246: McGregor vs Cowboy | Televised Prelim Predictions
125lbs- Maycee Barber vs Roxanne Modafferi

At -1000 on some sites, Maycee “The Future” Barber (8-0-0) is the heaviest favourite on the card and for good reason. The 21-year old prospect has finished 5 consecutive opponents by TKO (3 in the UFC) and has only gone the distance once as a pro.

Barber’s trio of UFC victims have an impressive combined Octagon record of  11-2, excluding their defeats to “The Future”.

A career underdog and Women’s MMA Pioneer, Roxanne Modafferi (23-16-0) turned pro in 2003. She made her almost exactly 10-years later.

“The Happy Warrior” has made the most of her Octagon tenure, debuting in a title fight and upsetting both Barb Honchak and Antonina Shevchenko.

Barber is the younger fighter by 16-years.

Roxanne has some advantage is height and reach, but the physicality of Barber will simply be too much. Modafferi has struggled with more physical opponents who offered aggressive forward pressure.

Look for Barber to back Roxy up from the start of the fight, and overwhelm her with close-range strikes. Modafferi has never demonstrated the type of striking power required to one-punch her way to a flash victory or even do enough to gain the respect of Barber. Maycee needs to be mindful of the magnitude of a loss here, but she gets it done- my prediction is Maycee Barber to defeat Roxanne Modafferi by TKO.

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145lbs- Andre Fili vs Sodiq Yusuff

Putting together the strongest run of his Octagon career, Team Alpha Male’s Andre “Touchy” Fili has collected wins in 4 of his last 5 wins. He had struggled with consistency, alternating wins, and losses over his first 8 UFC bouts.

Fili is coming off of his first knockout win since 2015, with the majority of his success coming on the scorecards.

Sodiq Yusuff (10-1-0) is coming off a knockout victory over the Gabriel Benitez, the same man that Fili knocked out in 2015. One fight prior, Yusuff took a decision against Sheymon Moraes, who Fili just knocked out.

Yusuff came out aggressive against Benitez, routinely firing a hard right hand while pressing forward. He finished the fight with a counter right hand, but not before getting hurt and dropped by his foe.

The long left jab of Fili was key in setting up the knockout. He also landed a couple of solid head kicks and a counter right hand that dropped his foe leading to the finish.

Fili’s height and reach advantage could be a key factor if his jab is on point. Additionally, the “Touchy” appears to offer a more diversified attack than his foe with kicks and takedowns to argument his boxing.

Sodiq got the win against Benitez, but he took some significant damage and forced himself to victory, winging big punches until he got the win. It was not the most technical approach.

Fili offers a more diverse attack- his jab and kicking arsenal will be key along with some well-timed takedowns. Yusuff has the raw ability and talent to win, but Fili will do more- my prediction is Andre Fili to defeat Sodiq Yusuff by decision.

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125lbs- Askar Askarov vs Tim Elliott

With a new Flyweight champion about to be crowned, the winner of former title challenger Tim Elliott (15-9-1) and Russia’s Askar Askarov could be in line for a title shot before the end of 2020. Elliott is just 2-2 since fight for the title.

Askarov came into the UFC with a split draw against Brandon Moreno- his fight not to end in a victory. He has finished all 10 of his pro wins- 7 by submission.

Elliott suffered the 4th submission loss of his career in his last fight.

A self-described “awkward fighter”, Elliott is in continual motion and throws a wide variety of techniques. He will look to take his foe to the floor, but he has been submitted on 4 occasions including each of his last 2 defeats.

Tim has landed takedowns in all but two of his UFC fights, including an impressive 4 completions against the former champion.

The majority of Askarov’s back and forth battle with Moreno was spent on the ground, completing 4 takedowns to Moreno’s 1.

While the Russian did slow down against Moreno, costing him the victory- it was also his debut, a return from a long layoff, and he was fighting at altitude.

The scrambles in this fight are going to be outstanding. That could be both good and bad for Elliott. His ability to outwork adversaries on the mat is noteworthy, but he is also vulnerable to getting stuck in bad spots on the mat.

Elliott will be the more active fighter but look for the Russian to be the more impactful and capitalize on Elliott’s mistakes. The power of Askarov will force Tim to get reckless when looking for takedowns and open himself up. Tim is not nearly as effective when he can’t bully his opponent and he won’t be able to here; my prediction is Askar Askarov to defeat Tim Elliott by submission.

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155lbs- Drew Dober vs Nasrat Haqparast

A 13-fight UFC veteran, southpaw Drew Dober (21-9-0 1NC) has experienced a career resurgence since early 2016 with wins in 6 of his last 8 fights.

The 31-year old’s success has been largely the product of two key improvements. The integration of wrestling into his offense and enhanced power striking- Drew has knockouts in 3 of his last 5 wins.

Germany’s Nasrat Haqparast (11-2-0) is coming off his first UFC win by knockout, stopping Joaquim Silva in round 1. He has finished 9 of his 11 pro victories by TKO or KO- 6 in the opening round.

Prior to finishing Silva, Haqparast has put forth strong back to back decision wins with a combined offensive output of 217-significant strikes. Nasrat’s left hand is arguably his best weapon.

Equally as impressive has been his ability to limit his opponent’s offensive attack, averaging just 40 significant strikes given up over 4 contests.

Haqparast is the taller fighter with the slightly longer reach and that could be crucial when the fists start flying.

Look for Dober’s kicking game to be less impactful against a fellow southpaw which will limit one of his key weapons. Haqparast will be the busier fighter with his boxing, carving up Dober on the feet in a competitive 15-minute slugfest. Drew will have his moments, but Haqparast will have more- my prediction is Nasrat Haqparast to defeat Drew Dober by decision.


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