Roxanne Modafferi is looking to continue her momentum as she prepares for a pivotal matchup in the women’s flyweight division.
“The Happy Warrior” will enter her 41st professional bout against fellow TUF 26 castmate Lauren Murphy this Saturday at UFC on ESPN 11. The top-six battle will take place on the event’s preliminary card.
In her last appearance, Modafferi picked up a unanimous decision win over Maycee Barber at January’s UFC 246 event. The Syndicate MMA product entered the bout as an over 5-1 underdog and was able to bloody up and control her opponent for almost the entire 15 minutes.
After derailing “a hype train,” Modafferi is excited for her next challenge against someone she respects, and deems professional.
“Looking in the top-10, she’s always made weight and a ton of people around us in the division haven’t,” Modafferi told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “I’ve fought a few people already (that have missed weight) and I don’t really want a rematch with them.It was like, ‘Well, who do I want to fight? Lauren seems nice,’ and she said ‘Let’s fight’, and I’m like, ‘Cool.’”
Murphy has gained some momentum in her own right on the heels of back-to-back victories. “Lucky” earned her first finish in over three years this past August with a third-round TKO win over Mara Romero Borella at UFC Newark and, in her most recent appearance, earned a split decision nod over Andrea Lee at UFC 247.
Modafferi admits that she’s not much of a fight analyst and doesn’t like to break down her opponent’s skill set piece by piece. However, the No. 5 ranked 125er loves the matchup from a stylistic perspective—so much so that she may introduce some new tricks at the APEX.
“Our styles are great together,” Modafferi said. “We both believe, obviously, that we’re going to win—but I’m going to. I think my technique works well with her. I’m gonna try some new stuff as well. I also have a new super attack that I shall debut, I think. We shall see.”
When the matchup was booked, a majority of fans and pundits believed it could be a potential title eliminator bout to see who is next to challenge the champion, Valentina Shevchenko. For Modafferi, she’s not putting that type of pressure on herself, especially since her teammate Joanne Calderwood is expected to be next in line.
“Two fights have to happen before that’s even possible,” Modafferi said. “I’m just going to focus on Lauren, execute my game plan, and not think about anything else because that’s what’s in front of me.
“I don’t even know who said it’s a title contention shot. Dana White didn’t say that. Everyone was just like, ‘Oh, guess what?,’ and I just heard it online. Who knows if that’s even the case.”
Both Modafferi and her opponent have competed in an empty arena setting while on The Ultimate Fighter. While that aspect of the fight doesn’t change things from an overall perspective, she is looking forward to hearing some different voices outside of the corners.
“So that’s one new thing because I’ve never been able to hear the commentators because, on The Ultimate Fighter, there were no commentators,” Modafferi explained. “It was just my coaches and the other girl’s coaches I could hear.
“I’m looking forward to hearing some good commentating advice. Whoever you are, please speak up so I can hear you.”
As she prepares to potentially pick up her 25th professional win, Modafferi isn’t offering a full-on prediction of how the fight plays out. Instead, when asked what fans should expect on Saturday night, she simply needed one descriptive word.