Get the lowdown on Sunday’s televised prelims from Glasgow, featuring former professional boxer Danny Roberts and hard-hitting Bobby Nash, plus Neil Seery’s retirement bout.
Admittedly, there is little at stake in the televised prelims. However – and it doesn’t matter how many times I say this – that rarely has anything to do with how entertaining a fight is. Danny Roberts and Bobby Nash should provide a standup war. Though this is Neil Seery’s final fight, he’s still one of the scrappiest and entertaining flyweights in the sport. Admittedly, Charlie Ward and Galore Bofando shouldn’t be in the UFC. But who hasn’t been entertained by a schoolyard fight or a drunken brawl? Not that I’m comparing them to that….
The FS1 prelims begin at 1:00 PM ET/ 10:00 AM PT on Sunday.
Danny Roberts (13-2) vs. Bobby Nash (8-2), Welterweight
It’s safe to expect an entertaining scrap from these two sluggers. Roberts, a former professional boxer, employs a far more technical style, relying on angles and footwork to find openings. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but knows how to pour on the volume to force his opponent to cry uncle. Roberts’ technique has broken down at times as he has been dragged into brawls in his last couple of appearances, much to his detriment. Though not a great wrestler, he has developed a dangerous guard that gives opponents pause before jumping in there.
Nash isn’t quite the natural athlete Roberts is – though he is a sound athlete — nor does he possess the slick technical skills of the Englishman. What he does possess is dynamite in his fists and the brawling style that has been liable to make Roberts forget his roots. Though he prefers to let his fists fly, Nash does possess an enthusiastic wrestling game and is adept at chokes as well. What got him finished in his UFC debut against Li Jingliang was his complete lack of defense, allowing the durable Chinaman to land some haymakers after having him on the ropes.
Roberts is hardly a savvy MMA vet, but he does have some slick skills that should lead to victory against the defensively deficient Nash. I don’t think Roberts has the power to end the contest early, but he should be able to outland the American with ease. So long as he can avoid a power shot from Nash – no guarantee — he’ll get the win. Roberts via decision
Alexandre Pantoja (17-2) vs. Neil Seery (16-12), Flyweight
Third time is the charm for Seery as he has been trying to make it into the cage for his farewell contest for almost a year now. The biggest mistake was trying to put him opposite Ian McCall as the MMA gods refuse to allow McCall to ever step foot in a UFC cage again. Though Pantoja doesn’t have the name value of McCall, he’s likely a stiffer test at this point in his career than the former #1 ranked flyweight in the world.
Seery never has been a great athlete, but thanks to over a decade’s worth of experience, developed into one of the wiliest and savvy boxers in the division. Relying on volume and some unorthodox angles in which he throws his punches, Seery keeps the pressure on from bell to bell. Considering he has an endless gas tank, Seery typically gets stronger late in fights, giving Kyoji Horiguchi a tough time in the final round in his last contest. It used to be that Seery was vulnerable to the submission, but has changed that narrative over the last five years to become a surprisingly slick scrambler given the lack of athletic gifts.
Speaking of athletic gifts, that’s something Pantoja is in abundance of. The #1 seed in the TUF flyweight tournament last fall, Pantoja is best known for his grappling prowess. However, to simply label him a submission expert would be selling his skill-set short. An aggressive pressure fighter, Pantoja’s kicks and knees from the clinch are just as capable of ending a contest as the Nova Uniao product is of catching a slick submission. Pantoja’s wrestling is another underrated part of his arsenal, though he’s more efficient at preventing takedowns than he is at getting them.
I’m going to miss Seery as he has always put on entertaining contests, whether it be a brawl or a series of scrambles. I’d love to see him end his career on a high note, but Pantoja is a far superior athlete. Seery hasn’t been finished since he came into the UFC and I see no reason for that to change as he makes his way out. Pantoja via decision
Charlie Ward (3-2) vs. Galore Bofando (4-2), Welterweight
Am I the only one who feels like the UFC is catering to Conor McGregor a bit too much by placing his teammate in a contest with a dude who has fought a total of six times over seven years, including just once in the last four? As I’ve already said, neither Ward nor Bofando have any business in a UFC cage.
Perhaps I could forgive the UFC for pitting these two against one another if they were prospects of some potential. Nope. Ward is 36-years old and Bofando is at least 35. To be fair, Ward does have a lot of unsanctioned experience under his belt. Regardless, he hasn’t proven anything to indicate he deserves this opportunity. Ward has shown the ability to be an entertaining scrapper, mixing takedowns with his punches with a nice amount of power. A swarmer, Ward’s strategy is simply to overwhelm his opponent with intense pressure.
That may be enough against Bofando as he doesn’t respond respond well to pressure. Bofando needs space to unleash his flashy kicking repertoire. He does have some power in his punches, but also isn’t very adept at covering the space he needs to get those off without taking some return fire. I haven’t seen any footage on his ground game, but I wouldn’t expect much.
A contest that is more appropriate on a BAMMA card or the prelims of Cage Warriors, it could be fun to watch regardless of whether they deserve their roster spot. Bofando appears to be tailor made for Ward to pick up a UFC win, thus satisfying the UFC’s lone cash cow… provided McGregor ever returns to MMA. If nothing else, this should be fun. Ward via TKO of RD2
Danny Henry (10-2) vs. Daniel Teymur (6-0), Lightweight
In a contest made about two weeks before the event, it’s hard to get a feel for Henry as there isn’t a lot of footage of him available for public consumption. That’s going to make this difficult to get a feel for the contest.
All I found on Henry was a series of highlight reels… not exactly ideal for breaking down his overall skill set and weaknesses. He does appear to be an accurate kickboxer with a well-rounded skill set with nearly as many victories via submission as KO/TKO. However, it is worth noting that he has spent most of his career as a featherweight fighting a less than impressive level of opposition in South Africa.
On the other side, Teymur – UFC lightweight David Teymur’s younger brother – hasn’t exactly faced the highest level of competition either. He hasn’t spent his entire career at lightweight either, fighting as low as 148. In other words, he won’t have a massive size advantage on Henry. It may help him defending the potential takedowns from Henry, but that doesn’t appear to be a big part of Henry’s game. Much like his brother, he possesses a very technical kickboxing game with sneaky power, but he’s more likely to be sucked into a brawl than his brother.
This is a coin flip of a fight given the lack of footage on Henry. I won’t be surprised if he pulls off the upset, but given Teymur’s pedigree and technical standup, I’m going with what I know. Teymur has the talent to stick around the UFC for a while. Henry might, but I can’t say for sure at this juncture. Teymur via decision