UFC 271: Casey O'Neill vs Roxanne Modafferi - Prediction - 02/12/22

Roxanne Modafferi vs Casey O'Neill

The lone women’s division fight on the card and it should be a good one. Roxanne Modafferi (25-19) has been fighting pro since 2003. She got her first taste of the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter reality series in 2013. She was unsuccessful in the house but still managed to get a fight on the finale fight card where she lost to Raquel Pennington by Decision. She then went on to Invicta where she amassed a 5-2 record, which gave her an opportunity to participate in another TUF show. A bit more success this time around and ended up getting the chance to fight for the inaugural women’s flyweight belt when Sarj Eubanks had to pull out of the finals. It wasn’t meant to be however as “The Happy Warrior” would fall to Nicco Montana by unanimous decision. Since then, she has fought in the UFC 9 times, going 4-5. Some notable wins there though as she has defeated Antonia Shevchenko, Andrea Lee, and Maycee Barber. She is currently coming off two consecutive decision defeats to Viviane Araujo and Taila Santos, respectively. This will be her last fight before retiring.

Casey O’Neill (8-0) is an exciting prospect from Scotland, fighting out of Australia. “King” won her first pro fights on the regional circuit which started in 2019. She then made the jump to the UFC where she fought 3 times last year and made good on all 3 fights. Her debut involved a ground and pounding of Shana Dobson, then her sophomore effort saw O’Neill wrap up a standing rear naked choke which produced a tap from Lara Procópio. Lastly and most recently (October), she dispatched her toughest test in Antonia Shevchenko by ground and pound TKO.

She will be 1” shorter than Modafferi but reach will be identical for this one. It should be noted that O’Neill will be 15 years younger than Modafferi (39) as well.

How They Match Up

O’Neill may have mauled Shevchenko in her last outing but there were some holes in her game brought to light. Mainly her striking defense as she ate a number of clean strikes in the stand up exchanges with no head movement or attempt to avoid them. She also found herself on the receiving end of a crucifix position when an overzealous hip throw didn’t go her way. However, with those holes, there’s some positives as well. Striking-wise, she’s tough enough and confident enough to not let eating some jabs stop her from marching forward. And to survive that crucifix position fairly easily shows some mental toughness and heart. The fact she went back to the well on the takedown attempts also showcases her confidence.

The UFC is not giving Modafferi a very nice retirement fight for this one. She has openly admitted recently the younger crop of up and comers have felt way stronger bullying her around in her area that should be her specialty. Granted, O’Neill is not the physical beast that Taila Santos is, but she’s persistent enough to exploit Modaferri’s incredibly porous 25% takedown defense. Modafferi could conceivably have success with her awkward movement and striking but honestly I don’t see O’Neill caring at all about what Modafferi does here.

It is highly likely O’Neill will win with a grapple-heavy attack while still getting the better of Modafferi on the feet. “The Happy Warrior” hasn’t been finished in the UFC since 2010 though so I could see her surviving to the final horn. This is just the kind of fight that Modafferi has scored upsets on in the past but I'm going to stick with O'Neill.

Prediction: Casey O’Neill

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Donnie Vee

Ever since renting my first UFC VHS at my local video store, I’ve been in love with the sport of MMA. I’ve watched every single fight that has ever taken place under the UFC banner over the past 25 years. Once I started doing incredibly well in fantasy leagues, I realized I could utilize my skills in fight analytics to make a profit on betting. My obsession with researching every aspect of a fight gave me a real edge in finding value. Since then, it's been one profitable year after the next. Watching your favorite sport is good, but getting paid while watching your favorite sport is better.