UFC 197 Breakdown: Danny Roberts vs Dominique Steele

Danny RobertsPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, an undercard bout between rising English welterweight Danny Roberts and American Dominique Steele.   Danny Roberts (Record: 12-1, -365 Favorite, Fighter Grade: C-) The 28-year old Englishman is one of the better English fighters to enter the UFC in the past few years. He made his mark in Cage Warriors winning five fights in a row over veterans Jack Mason and Jim Wallhead. In his UFC debut, Roberts submitted Nathan Coy to show that he’s more than just an action striker. Roberts is a fighter certainly capable of making an impression in his time in the UFC. He’s a long, rangy striker with an athletic base. On the feet, he’s capable of competing with nearly all fighters in the division. He delivers powerful leg kicks and is deadly in the clinch. He has long legs which make him a real threat if taken to the mat as he’s shown he’s capable of securing submissions from the bottom if put on his back. Furthermore, he’s quick to transition on the ground and is quite good at getting back to his feet. Roberts has finished all but two of his opponents in his career making him a fighter to watch moving forward.   Dominique Steele (Record: 14-6, +255 Underdog, Fighter Grade: D) The Ohio-born Steele began fighting as an amateur at just 21 years of age. Two years later he started competing as a professional. In addition to his two fights in the UFC, Steele has already competed in some of the bigger organizations in North America including Bellator and Strikeforce. Half of his wins have come inside the distance. Steele is a solid 6’0” with a 74” inch reach making him very capable physically in the welterweight division. He’s got a good motor and is constantly looking to move forward in his fights. His offensive wrestling game is underrated and he will look to work in power takedowns in his fights. He’s had trouble holding opponents down in the past, but when he’s able to do so he has good ground and pound. On the feet, he’s got solid pop in his hands. On the flip side, his striking defense is rather poor and he is quite hittable on the feet. He’s been knocked out four times already in his career which is alarming for somebody just getting to the UFC level.   Match-up Both fighters are coming off their first UFC wins and are looking to make an impression on viewers and UFC brass to get big fighters and to be placed higher on fight cards. In a bout between two athletic welterweights, I expect an action packed, exciting matchup. Steele has the better wrestling game and will be smart to try to get this fight to the ground. Ground and pound is his best avenue to success in this fight. Even if he does so, I expect Roberts to be able to pop back up to his feet rather easily. On the feet, there’s a big advantage for Roberts. The Englishman is the more talented striker and his creative approach will give Steele problems. Roberts has more than enough pop in his punches to hurt Steele and finish him with strikes. The line for this fight opened much higher than I thought it would, so it’s not a fight I’m particularly looking to bet. I do think Roberts gets the finish more often than not. The Roberts by KO / TKO prop will be worth a look.

Written by Jay Primetown

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