Nasrat Haqparast, 28, joined the UFC in 2021 and has since gone 7-4. 9 of his 11 fights have gone the distance with the outlier win and loss ending by knockout.
One year older, Jamie Mullarkey has gone 5-4 in the UFC since joining in 2019. Like his opponent, Mullarkey has split both wins and losses between decisions (5) and knockouts (4).
Haqparast vs. Mullarkey odds
Haqparast opened just south of a 200 favorite but has grown to just slightly above.
Haqparast vs. Mullarkey breakdown
Haqparast, despite sputtering at times under the big lights, is still young enough to make a push to and through the rankings. He also has the foundational skills to make a run, but, he needs to put his whole game plan together and increase his aggression if he hopes to make waves in a deep and talented division. Typically, Haqparast wants a measured boxing match where his footwork, jab, volume, and precision striking can be implemented with little resistance.
If he’s able to dictate space and pace, Haqparast at ramping up the volume throughout the fight- often throwing and landing the most strikes in round 3- as he creates damage through attrition. He has the takedown defense necessary to keep the fight standing and the footwork to dictate his prefered space and pace. However, Haqparast has historically struggled against more athletically gifted, talented, or skilled fighters who push him on his back foot and force Haqparast to fight uncomfortably. In those fights, Haqparast is like a car that jumps to 2nd gear, fighting erratically and out of rhythm, often leading to a decision where he absorbs damage for all 3 rounds.
Mullarkey is skilled at dealing out damage in the cage. Prior to the UFC, Mullarkey finished 12 fights in a row, 9 of which by knockout. Since joining the UFC, his aggressive hunt for the finish, often in disregard for his own defense, is still Mullarkey’s primary game plan. He looks impressive and wins emphatically when an opponent doesn’t have the skill or chin to deter his pressure. Mullarkey’s striking often comes as he’s moving forward.
Fighters with intelligent footwork and well timed counters can catch in the vulnerable opening when Mullarkey is moving forward but before he throws. However, fighters without the necessary timing are often overwhelmed by his moving combinations. He’s happy to take one to give one, relying on his often superior power, chin, and cardio. But, that brawling strategy has failed when he faces a technical striker. In short, Mullarkey can excel in a brawl but struggle in a skilled match.
Haqparast vs. Mullarkey prediction
Both of these fighters have been difficult to handicap because of inconsistent performances. Interestingly, looking deeper, both figher’s salty record is more because of their ceilings rather than their inconsistency in the cage. Both tend to lose to ranked level fighters and beat unranked fighters. The key, though, is I see Haqparast as a ranked level fighter, in terms of skill and ability, and I do not see Mullarkey that way. Therefore, I give Haqparast the edge when it comes to their trends.
Stylistically, I also like Haqparast to win this one. Mullarkey typically needs to bully or hurt opponents to win; in this fight, however, Haqparast will be difficult to bully or hurt. His movement, technical boxing, and defensive awareness should negate Mullarkey’s desire for chaos. I like Haqparast to win, likely by jab behind a stiff jab and cautious defensive game plan. However, because Mullarkey’s last 2 losses have come via knockout, I’d rather play the money line versus the decision prop.
Best Bet: Haqparast to win (-205)