UFC 271 takes place this Saturday live from the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas. Amongst the stacked lineup of fighters sits Nasrat Haqparast and Bobby Green, always exciting lightweights ready to make a show. Haqparast made his debut in 2017 and earned an impressive 5-2 record before answering a call to fight Dan Hooker on short notice. Having to overcome travel issues up to the final days of fight week, Haqparast may have lost the fight but gained many fans for stepping up and proving he can hang with the division’s best.
Bobby Green is currently coming off of the best victory of his career to date with a knockout win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 268. With 41 fights underneath his belt, Green will very much come into this fight as the veteran over Haqparast’s seventeen. Green is on a mission to prove that even at this point in his career he is continuing to improve and yet to hit his prime, while Haqparast is looking to bounce back and get back on his track upwards through the division.
The young prospect in Haqparast will come in as the slight underdog at +116. A bet of $100 will just over double your money with a $116 profit.
- Haqparast: +116
- Green: -142
Nasrat Haqparast is announced as Muay Thai fighter inside the UFC octagon, and while most of his techniques are thrown Thai style, he almost always engages primarily with his hands. He can be described as well as a boxer with a stiff left roundhouse, which he throws as a southpaw, but what really stands out in his fighting game is his slick and unusual punches. Haqparast throws very accurately and everything he throws has a bit of a whip to it, even his straight punches tend to come around on an angle slightly, almost as if the punch barely tilts towards a ridgehand motion. This gives his punches extra sting but also makes traditional slips difficult because the angle is narrower. For Bobby Green, who utilizes upper body boxing management at its best, will have to rely more so on rolling and leaning away from shots as slipping into Haqparast could be extra dangerous.
That being said, getting on the inside is important, as even though Haqparast doesn’t typically go to kicks often, neither does Green. Should Haqparast choose to utilize his kicks more in this matchup, Green will be facing an obstacle he has had to figure a way around in the past, as Green’s kicking game, mostly his lead leg stomp and teep are usually used to pressure his opponents to attack back rather than cause real damage. Green will use these kicks, along with feints and jabs to draw out the counter of his opponent at which point he is a master at avoiding strikes while staying inside the pocket and firing back. His toolkit of boxing techniques is diverse and pretty evenly distributed making him difficult to read.
Both men stand primarily in southpaw, which takes away a few weapons from both sides but most notably will make it difficult for Haqparast to find the left body kick. Haqparast tends to use a very high guard, a stark contrast to the low hands of Green, and this will likely open up the body hook for Green if he can roll his way underneath Haqparasts left hook or straight. The opportunity should be there as often Haqparast leads with his rear power hand and looks to set up the right hook as the second punch instead, which is one of his best and often lands should the left fail.
Green typically likes to let his opponents come to him to make himself as evasive as possible, and Haqparast has to make sure he also challenges Green to come forward at points. If Green does this or elects to stand his ground as Haqparast steps in, he has a tricky Osoto Gari (outside leg trip) which can offset the momentum of Green. Haqparast is great at timing this move although it is usually used in this way, as a means to mix up the flow of the fight rather than get the fight to the floor for an extended time. Other than both men looking to take each other down late in a round to secure a last-minute point or simply to create a scramble en route to strikes I don’t see a ton of grappling going on in this one.
I believe that Bobby Green will successfully draw Haqparast into a boxing contest, which is the area best suited to Green. While Haqparast may have the range advantage in his back pocket, not only does he typically like to trade almost always at punching range, but if Green sits back and forces Haqparast to break the distance I think Green can meet him, stick and move. I think that Green can gain Haqparast’s respect upstairs and eventually find the openings to the body with his hooks and low straights and ultimately stay just ahead as the fight moves on.
Prediction: Bobby Green to win via decision
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.