Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight heavy hitters Karl Roberson and Jack Marshman will battle this Saturday (Nov. 3, 2018) at UFC 230 inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
A former professional kickboxer, Roberson needed just 15 seconds on Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender Series” to walkaway with an elbow knockout and fully convince the organization of his worth. However, Roberson last suffered his first defeat in the Octagon, slowing down his rise after the aforementioned elbow and an impressive debut victory. Marshman also made his presence known in his debut, as the Welsh veteran pulled through as a major upset to batter Magnus Cedenblad into a bloodied heap. Since then, though, he hasn’t been able to find consistent success, and “Hammer” is now forced to fight his way back into the win column.
Key Wins: Darren Stewart (UFC Fight Night 120), Ryan Spann (DWTNCS 3)
Key Losses: Cezar Ferreira (UFC 224)
Keys to Victory: Despite his background as a kickboxer, Roberson actually has a fair number of victories via submission. For example, in his UFC debut, he picked apart Stewart before tossing him to the mat and choking him out in short fashion.
Unfortunately for Roberson, he faced a stronger foe in Ferreira next time out, and he experienced the wrong side of that same equation.
Marshman is a much more straight forward fighter than “Mutante.” He could be described as a boxer or a brawler, depending on if you wanted to be polite or accurate. Either way, Marshman marches forward and slings punches, doing his best to force exchanges and overwhelm opponents with a volume of heavy blows. Given Roberson’s more technical outfighting and dangerous top game, he has two very clear ways to defeat Marshman. As the Welsh athlete pressures, Roberson should have plenty of opportunities to land counter shots or walk him into kicks like Thiago Santos did. If Marshman does manage to close range or pursue too wildly, Roberson can also duck down and test his grappling.
Key Wins: Magnus Cedenblad (UFC Fight Night 99), Ryan Janes (UFC Fight Night 113), Che Mills (CWFC 72)
Key Losses: Thiago Santos (UFC Fight Night 105), Antonio Carlos Junior (UFC Fight Night 119)
Keys to Victory: Marshman is a hard-nosed, heavy punching bruiser with 13 knockout wins to his name. When able to force his opponent into a brawl, Marshman thrives, putting together combinations of hard shots and wearing their blows well.
To win here, Marshman needs this fight to take place within the pocket. Most likely, Roberson is going to circle the outside and try to do damage as Marshman gets inside, so it’s up to the Welshman to safely close distance. Feints, head movement, and smart cage position could all help him accomplish that task. Once in range, I’d like to see Marshman really target the body. Not only would that provide a layer of defense against Roberson’s potential shot, but Roberson tends to finish fights quickly and is a larger, muscular Middleweight. If forced into deep waters, there’s every chance Marshman’s toughness and experience will shine.
Bottom Line: This card is filled with Middleweights, and while this is the lowest level scrap on the main card, it should be a ton of fun.
Roberson definitely lost a bit of steam by getting strangled by Ferreira, but the Brazilian is an underrated spoiler. He’s still very early in his career, and there’s plenty of time for him to bounce back. Should “Baby K” score another dramatic win, there still isn’t a need to rush the 28 year old. Instead, match him up with another top control fighter, and see how that area of his game has improved.
As for Marshman, the stakes are higher. He’s the same age as his foe, but this is also Marshman’s 30th career fight — things rarely change dramatically from this point forward. If Marshman is to break the rankings and make an impact at 185 pounds, that all has to start with a victory here.
At UFC 230, Karl Roberson and Jack Marshman will throw down. Which man will have his hand raised?