Whatever you do, don’t tell Roxanne Modafferi the odds.
“The Happy Warrior” was a 10-to-1 underdog heading into her fight against Maycee Barber in the featured prelim at UFC 246 but she performed like the betting favorite. Showcasing a dominant grappling game and a surprising striking attack, Modafferi battered Barber over three round to earn a lopsided unanimous decision.
The scorecards read 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27 all in favor of Modafferi.
“I want to prove that I’m not just a veteran gatekeeper,” Modafferi said after the statement victory. “I’ve been training everything very hard and I hope to get better and better.”
It was a showcase for Modafferi from start to finish after she set the tone with a stiff punch that rattled Barber early before putting her on the ground. Suffocating on top, Modafferi barely gave Barber any room to breathe as she fended off threats unlike anything she had seen in her young UFC career.
Modafferi’s confidence continued to soar into the second round where she dropped Barber with a lightning quick jab that put the 21-year-old prospect down to the mat. Once the fight was on the ground, Modafferi was simply the superior fighter.
She showed her grappling prowess and opened a nasty cut on the side of Barber’s head with a slicing elbow. Blood began pouring from the open gash but the bigger problem was Barber limping back to her corner after suffering some sort of injury to her knee.
A ringside physician came into the cage and checked Barber’s knee but ultimately decided to allow her continue. Sadly any attempt at a comeback was thwarted because Barber couldn’t put any real weight down on her leg and Modafferi was still coming after her while looking for the finish.
By the time the final horn sounded, Modafferi was obviously confident in her performance while Barber was struggling to stand as she leaned on her coaches for support afterwards.
At 37, Modafferi might seem like she’s teetering on the tail end of her career but the win over Barber showed once again that sometimes age isn’t anything but a number .