Odds: Alexa Grasso (-135) vs. Maycee Barber (+115)
Prediction: Barber via KO/TKO (+450) in Rd 3 (+1400)
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A women’s flyweight fight between Maycee Barber and Alexa Grasso was promoted to co-main status at UFC 258 after Chris Weidman’s clash with Uriah Hall was moved to a later date.
A slugfest seems assured between two combatants who are each yet to be knocked out in their careers, though there’s a good chance that changes come Saturday. Grasso (12-3) is the -135 favorite after winning her UFC flyweight debut against Ji Yeon Kim last August (when she incurred a fair amount of damage), but this is where her acclimation at 125lbs will be tested.
Barber (8-1)—the +115 underdog—racked up five consecutive KO/TKO wins before suffering the first loss of her career in January 2020, a unanimous-decision defeat to Roxanne Modafferi. A knee injury suffered midway through that bout hampered Barber and has kept her sidelined since, but there’s a chance we could see “The Future” come back new and improved.
The 22-year-old spoke to MMA reporter James Lynch at the tail-end of a positive, structured training camp, one that involved plenty of revision of her opponent, Grasso:
Grasso’s boxing gives her a strong foundation in the stand-up, but the last of her four knockout wins came in December 2014. If this comes down to a fist fight, Barber looks the more likely to land that finishing touch against an opponent who holds no reach advantage and is still new at this weight, even though Grasso is the technically superior striker on paper.
The Future has already finished UFC flyweights in Gillian Robertson and JJ Aldrich, and she’s a a +450 pick to notch her fourth KO with the promotion. Two of those three finishes have come in the second round, but she may have to wait a little longer to find her feet after a year’s absence.