When a young prospect makes his debut against an extremely battle-tested veteran of the organization, the fight is typically electrifying and entertaining from start to finish.
Perhaps the poster child of a battled veteran is Jim Miller, holding a professional record of 33-16 and a UFC record of 22-15 (yes, a total of 37 UFC fights, dating back to 2008). The battle-tested Miller will have his hands full against the young, talented striker of Nikolas Motta (12-3), who is set to make his debut.
Age, experience, and an affinity for grappling, squaring off against a young, confident, strike-first mentality prospect is truly a clash of attributes; henceforth, this is a fight to circle and one to certainly not miss!
Motta is currently listed as a -180 favorite over Miller, which implies a win probability of 64%.
- Miller: -170
- Motta: +150
As one would expect from a veteran in the sport, Miller is a fighter who brings about consistency and challenge to anyone new to the promotion. The largest challenge Miller brings to his opponents is a combination of cardio and submission. For the former, Miller will push the grappling pace in the fight, knowing his experience and preparation will enable him to fight without fear of gassing for all fifteen minutes of the bout. For the latter, Miller’s submission game is by far and away the biggest threat in his arsenal – of his 33 professional wins, 18 have come via submission. This combination of finishing capabilities on the mat with a pace on the feet that lends itself to takedown opportunities is the primary reason for him being an extremely difficult test for anyone making their UFC debut.
Although Motta is indeed making his UFC debut, his lower-level experience of 15 professional fights is a sizable sample size that should afford him confidence in this upcoming bout. Expanding his historical experience affording him confidence, Motta holds a KO victory over the extremely talented grappler in Joe Solecki in 2018, who, in fact, beat Jim Miller himself in 2021. The KO method of win is indicative of Motta’s talent on style within the octagon. Here, Motta maintains a boxing-style approach, having a traditional stance that affords him the ability to throw in tight, quick combinations. His style and stance, parlayed with having serious pop behind his punches, greatly resembles that of the surging bantamweight prospect in Adrian Yanez. Although the resembles is indeed there, Motta will need to show slightly better output on the feet in conjunction with a greater ability to finish fights if the resemblance of Yanez is to move to a comparison. Lastly, particularly in this specific fight, Motta will need to show he has the takedown ability to combat the severe grapple-threat of Miller in addition to having the skills necessary to fight the fight that is best for him – a strict striking affair, not a ground fight nor clinch fight.
Motta impressed on the DWCS, especially having faced what seemed to be a quality opponent. Combine his recent win with the win over Joe Solecki, and one would think Motta has the skills to combat the wrestle-attack of Miller combined with an arsenal of striking skills that should afford him the win. Although this logic is sound, I believe Motta will be in for a rude awakening come Saturday night. Miller is a fighter who understands how to use cardio as a weapon, has grappling that is likely greater than the 2018 version of Solecki, and most importantly, has faced the style of Motta time in and time out throughout his 37 UFC fights. For these three reasons, I am electing to back the battle-tested, known commodity in Miller, contrary to the young and unproven, yet quite skilled boxer, in Motta.
Bet: Jim Miller