Maximov is making his UFC debut after winning a unanimous decision and a UFC contract from Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020. Only 23-years-old, Maximov has a perfect 6-0 professional record. He has two knockouts, three submissions, and a single decision win. Interestingly, Maximov is affiliated and trains out of Nick Diaz Academy. Diaz is making his return after six years on this same card. Roberson will look to spoil Maximov’s perfect record on Saturday. “Baby K” is 30 years old, 9-4 professionally, and is also a DWCS alum who earned a contract in 2017. Since then, Roberson is 4-4 in the UFC. Two of his UFC wins have been by submission and the other two by decision. All four of his UFC losses have come by submission.
Roberson vs. Maximov Betting Odds
The fight is listed as a pick’em with the bookmakers and fans expecting a close contest at UFC 266.
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Roberson vs. Maximov Breakdown
Maximov, like many others, really impressed in a win on DWCS. However, many fighters struggled in their debut after earning that contract. As a fighter, Maximov is an excellent Jiu-Jitsu practitioner with a pedigreed wrestling background. He was an All-American Junior College wrestler and that experience manifests in the cage. On DWCS, Maximov shot for five takedowns, landed two of them, and controlled his opponent for an impressive 11:14. That control time allowed for him to unleash 210 significant strikes with a 58% accuracy. Maximov fights at 185 pounds, but he fought on DWCS at 195 because his opponent was 260 pounds.
Maximov took down and controlled another professional fighter with 65 pounds on him. While Maximov’s wrestling and ground game are impressive, on the feet he is average. He’ll throw just enough to close the distance and shoot a takedown. And, while we didn’t see it last time, he can get touched up from a technical striker.
Roberson is a patient, calm, and competent striker. He is a good athlete who takes his time, picks his shots, and uses his kickboxing style to stay at range. He averages only 2.8 significant strikes per minute and lands with a 51% accuracy. Roberson prefers the fight to stay at range because in a phone booth, he can’t use his length and struggles to hold off his opponents’ takedown attempts. His takedown defense is at 45%; but, once someone gets him down, it is often a quick submission loss for Roberson. His best path to victory is to out-point his opponent or knock them down and secure a choke.
Roberson vs. Maximov Prediction
I was really impressed with Maximov’s DWCS showcase; but, I do want to make note that many fighters have looked impressive there only to struggle once they’re under the UFC lights and against UFC talent. While Roberson’s primary weakness (takedown and ground defense) is Maximov’s strength, Roberson has fought talented UFC caliber fighters and has the important edge in experience. That all being said, I trust Maximov’s wrestling, relentlessness, and overall talent to get the job done.
Prediction: Maximov inside the distance
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.