Striking fans won’t be disappointed when boxing stylist, Jack Marshman, locks horns with dangerous kickboxer, Karl Roberson, on the UFC 230 main card. While both fighters are coming off emphatic submission losses, they have a chance to regain revelvancy in the middleweight division with a win on saturday night.
Will It Be More of the Same from Marshman?
Welsh slugger, Jack Marshman, is likely to come out with the same approach as always. Essentially a boxer that wears MMA gloves, Marshman works with his hands and almost never shoots for takedowns. His ground game primarily involves limiting damage and getting back to his feet.To his credit, his boxing fundamentals are good. He moves well and has an excellent vocabulary of strikes (or rather, punches). As an orthodox fighter, he packs power in both hands and one of his best weapons is his left hook. In a blood and guts brawl, Marshman dropped Brazilian kickboxer, Thiago Santos, before he was eventually dropped himself with a spinning heel kick and finished. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a similar style of fight this weekend.
Marshman did not look good in his last outing against jiu-jitsu ace, Antonio Carlos Junior. However, one can speculate his timidity was due to fear of the impending takedown (with good reason). Knowing Roberson will most likely want to stand with him, this could allow the Welshman to unleash with his hands.
A Deadly Southpaw Kickboxer
Before transitioning to MMA full-time, Karl Roberson’s first venture into professional combat sports was in kickboxing. Although he went 0-3 in his career, he performed admirably in all fights and should have really got a decision victory over French veteran, Jérôme Le Banner. In Dana White’s Contender Series, Roberson destroyed Ryan Spann in the clinch in order to book his ticket to the big show. He didn’t disappoint in his UFC debut against British power puncher, Darren Stewart, executing a lat throw and then sinking in a rear-naked choke. These brief glimpses make me think Roberson will be the superior grappler and I wouldn’t be surprised if he shoots for a takedown at some stage.
Still, Roberson’s main strength will always be his striking. A powerful and athletic southpaw, Roberson is dangerous at range as well as in the clinch with his knees and elbows. Roberson’s more extensive range of weapons on the feet could be the difference in this contest.
I think most people would agree that Roberson deserves to be the favorite, but the lines look a little wide to me. The implied probability of Marshman’s +230 moneyline is 30%, whereas I think his chances of victory are realistically more like 40%. If you’re looking to take a shot on the underdog, I can’t blame you. One thing is for certain: neither of these two are point fighters. Either combatant could get knocked out and Roberson could score a submission. I don’t think we’re seeing the scorecards in this one.
Pick: fight won’t start round three -156
Check out my other UFC 230 betting predictions.