Emphatic power puncher, Khalil “The War Horse” Rountree rebounded after dropping his first two UFC fights with a brief winning streak. In the big show, Rountree is 5-5-1 with four knockout wins and three stoppage losses. His opponent, Karl “Baby K” Roberson is 4-4 in the UFC. All four of his losses have come via submission. The loser of this one will likely be cut from the UFC.
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Rountree and Roberson will go head-to-head at UFC Fight Night 203 this Saturday night.
Roberson opened as an underdog but has been bet up to a favorite.
- Roberson: -130
- Rountree: +100
Rountree is dangerous, powerful, and violent; but, incredibly inconsistent. When he’s on, Rountree packs real heat in his strikes and can crack leg kicks that sound like wooden baseball bats hitting a cement wall. But, when he’s off, he is timid, kicks blindly, and will push a slow pace. The two aspects of Rountree’s game that have been and will be consistent are his power and cardio issues. Even in the fights where Rountree is off and he has low volume, if he lands, he lands hard; but, he gasses out quickly. He has only one UFC win where a fight lasted longer than 1.5 rounds. As a wrestler and grappler, Rountree is out of his element. He has poor takedown defense that relies on strength over technique that fades as he fades in a fight. Once on the ground, Rountree’s only defense is to try and survive. Ultimately, Rountree is a single-shot power puncher who has needed to win inside of 2 rounds to win a fight.
Roberson is a quality athlete with a respectable kickboxing background. But, he has been equally inconsistent since joining the UFC. Typically, Roberson is a patient striker who calmly moves forward while kickboxing at range. His best path to victory is to force his opponents into a low volume and technical kickboxing match where he can use his length to keep fighters at the end of his strikes. Offensively, this approach has proved successful against fighters willing to let him dictate the pace. But against pressure fighters, fighters able to crash distance, and fighters willing to wrestle, Roberson has struggled. While he does have a solid offensive submission game, defensively, his grappling leaves much to be desired. He’ll look to keep the fight standing and at his range Saturday.
Considering this fight is between two fighters who I don’t anticipate being in the UFC by 2023, it should be a close matchup. I recognize that Rountree could end the fight early; but, his pace and pressure have underwhelmed lately. Instead, I foresee Roberson moving around the octagon, avoiding big shots early, and leading a low-volume dance. Then, later, once Rountree is gassed, Roberson gets the finish.
Prediction: Roberson 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.