Tabatha Ricci

Brazilian Tabatha “Baby Shark” Ricci takes on Canada’s own Gillian Robertson this Saturday live on ABC.

Ricci last competed at UFC 285 in March, where she defeated UFC veteran Jessica Penne by second round arm-bar. Prior to that wins over Polyana Viana and Maria Oliveira has Ricci riding a three-fight win streak inside the UFC with an overall pro record of 8-1.

Robertson on the other hand has more than twice the experience at 12 wins and 7 losses. Nicknamed “the Savage”, she started her UFC career by appearing on the 26th season of The Ultimate Fighter and then making her debut on the Finale. She beat Emily Whitmire that night, followed by a victory over Molly McCann which has aged extremely well. She also has notable wins over Veronica Macedo, Courtney Casey, and Poliana Botelho.

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Betting Odds

Gillian Robertson will come into the fight as the slight underdog. Each $100 placed on Robertson returns a $108 profit if she wins.

  • Tabatha Ricci: -138 (BetUS)
  • Gillian Robertson: +108 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Tabatha Ricci stands in a conventional stance. She is usually at a height disadvantage in most of her fights standing just 5’2 with a 61-inch reach. Robertson will stand two inches taller and hold two inches longer punching range. Ricci has shown some inability to get inside taller opponents although they usually have an even greater advantage than Robertson. Ricci is explosive in her movements, and this is something that Robertson lacks on the other side, so expect Ricci to have some more success getting inside range than she may have had against other opponents.

Ricci often attacks in bursts leading with a big left hook and overhand right to cover her entry. While big punches can provide openings, Ricci’s speed, power and potential for the oncoming takedown have done good in service of allowing Ricci to enter with her opponent’s respect.

Gillian Robertson is far less explosive, and she may actually be one of the slower individuals in the division when it comes to striking. Robertson has a good technical level of striking, but it’s important that she mixes in the threat of her own takedown to land her best shots. She is very good at ducking for the single leg, rolling out to her left, and throwing a lead hook to right cross of the feint.

The biggest point of contention in this fight will be in the Jiu Jitsu department. Robertson almost always goes into her fights with the gameplay of taking the fight to the floor and securing a submission. Of her 9 wins by submission, all of them have come by way of rear naked choke or armbar. She is best at taking her opponents down via single-leg entry, turning the corner and maintaining rotation to pass the guard, or elevating the leg to kick out the other and landing in half guard.

Robertson is extremely good at maintaining a work rate as she passes with traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Watch for her to turn her body across her opponents to address the legs in half guard in order to free the knee line and pass to mount. She operates in a much more Jiu Jitsu based attack, smoothly transitioning and slyly mixing in sharp strikes, but mostly focusing on positioning. Like with her ground and pound, Robertson will almost never give up a position for a submission she isn’t confident she already has.

However, Tabatha Ricci is also a high-level grappler herself. She has a black belt in both BJJ and Judo. She tends to land her best takedowns from an initial double-leg entry, but then will switch to a wide inside reap to complete it. This lands her directly into the guard of her opponents but also with a strong body or hip lock. Gillian Robertson is particularly slick out in open mat, so if Ricci does complete this and lands in the guard, her best case scenario is to do so against the cage where she can stack Robertson.

Ricci likes to pass to side control and use her short elbows to open up armbar opportunities. She is much happier to put her opponents into uncomfortable positions and take damage to set up her finishes, as opposed to the more pure Jiu Jitsu of Robertson.


I do believe that the explosiveness of Ricci gives her the edge on the feet. Robertson always comes in prepared to take down her opponents and will even pull guard to do so and I don’t see that changing Saturday. That being said I do think that Ricci is one of the better opponents she will have faced in the grappling department.

I do think that Robertson will have a technical edge, but she is a smaller fighter for flyweight and I can see Ricci being able to wrestle up from positions others have failed in. When Robertson is unable to implement her ground game she has failed to show a plan B, and I think if anyone has the ability to force her into different areas of the fight it could be Tabatha Ricci

Pick: Tabatha Ricci to win (-138)

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One Comment

  1. Nice breakdown, but I think in terms of size Robertson is bigger than Ricci she’s a natural flyweight coming down to strawweight and that might play a factor here she looked really strong in her last fight and absolutely ran over Rose Namajunas in a recent grappling match.