Miranda Maverick doesn’t pay much attention to the analysts. Unless, of course, the UFC fighter is looking for a little motivation.
She’ll take a peek at the pre-fight odds. Occasionally she’ll even take a look at what the prognosticators think about her upcoming chances. She’ll watch their preview videos and listen to their breakdowns of her skills.
It’s not vanity. It’s not even necessarily for education purposes. Instead, it’s motivation.
“I watch every video I can – interviews of people doing previews of the fight, just everything to kind of put it into my own mind,” she told PlayVirginia. “Sometimes it’s for confidence. And sometimes stuff just pisses me off and makes me more motivated.”
Maverick, who fights out of Norfolk, is an Old Dominion University graduate student. The 23-year-old is also a fast-rising prospect in the UFC women’s flyweight division. On Saturday at UFC 260 in Las Vegas, Maverick (8-2) looks for her fifth straight victory when she meets Gillian Robertson (9-5).
After a series of COVID-related lineup changes to this weekend’s card, Maverick finds herself on Saturday’s pay-per-view main card. It’s a high-profile spot on one of the year’s can’t-miss fight cards.
Plenty of fight fans will be watching, but do they really know what to expect from her?
Bettors unsure with Miranda Maverick
Maverick is approximately a -175 favorite at Virginia sports betting apps heading into UFC 260. At those odds, you’d need to bet $175 to win $100 in profit if she’s victorious.
The odds have remained relatively steady for this matchup. But that hasn’t been the case for previous fights. Before the UFC, Maverick fought for the all-female Invicta FC promotion, which serves as a sort of feeder league for the UFC. In Maverick’s final Invicta FC fight, money poured in on her opponent, Pearl Gonzalez. Maverick, who opened as a favorite, closed as the underdog but cruised to an easy decision victory.
Then, in her UFC debut, she opened as a modest -140 favorite against Liana Jojua. By fight night, though, money had poured in Maverick. The line swelled to -465 before she scored a first-round TKO victory off a brutal elbow strike:
This time around, the odds have held steady against Robertson. Still, Maverick isn’t convinced it’s because MMA bettors have finally figured her out. After all, when she watches those breakdown videos from would-be handicappers, she’s often surprised by the assessments.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily that they’re wrong about me. It’s wrong, how they analyze things,” she said. “A lot of people only watch the one UFC fight I’ve had. Or people just watch my last two fights. Or they watch only really old fights. They go on YouTube and try to find my name. Well, most of the fights on YouTube are either with me losing or when I was an amateur four years ago. I’m like, yeah, there’s a huge change from that.
“So it’s kind of funny listening to people who are like, ‘Maverick doesn’t have a ground game,’ when in reality, that’s all I ever did before my last UFC fight. And it’s also the other way around. People are like, ‘She doesn’t have good defense for wrestling. You know, she doesn’t wrestle well.’ And I’m like, I don’t know what you people are watching. Whatever they want to believe, I guess.”
UFC 260 odds for Maverick vs. Robertson
So, who exactly is Miranda Maverick? What kind of fighter is she?
At first glimpse, the ODU student’s physical strength is obvious. Despite a busy schedule working toward a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology, she clearly doesn’t skip time in the gym. And she’s translated that strength into an exceptionally effective fighting style.
“I’m a big fan of Miranda Maverick’s style in the sense that she seems to balance intelligence and aggression very well,” said Dan Tom, a noted MMA analyst and host of “The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast.” “The Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt makes smart positional choices on the floor, which could come in handy against aggressive grapplers. Maverick also shows the prerequisites of a striking process on the feet and the willingness to exchange when she needs to, in spite of past eye issues that she seems to have properly addressed.”
Those are some of the reasons Maverick is favored in this bout. Here are the latest odds at Virginia sportsbooks, as of Thursday afternoon:
|Maverick||Robertson||Over 2.5 rounds||Under 2.5 rounds|
|William Hill||-165||+140||-400 (1.5 rounds)||+275 (1.5 rounds)|
Maverick hasn’t bet on her fights or others. Nothing beyond some small wagers with friends, anyway. Still, as she works her way up the MMA ladder, her current paydays aren’t exactly life-changers. And it’s not like grad school and life as a student is flush with cash. So no, she’s not an MMA bettor. But with sports betting legal in Virginia and her intimidate knowledge of the fight game, that could change said.
“I might,” she joked. “Once I actually have money sitting around to bet with.”
But what about fight fans who want to place a UFC 260 bet? Any predictions for her own bout with Robertson?
“TKO,” she said. “Second round.”
(Maverick by KO/TKO pays +500 at FanDuel, and Maverick by first-round win pays +1,000 at William Hill.)
Future UFC title contender?
Maverick expects to graduate in 2022. Ultimately, she’d like to work for a Fortune 500 company or perhaps a sports organization.
At least for the next few years, though, MMA will be her primary pursuit outside of the classroom.
Maverick has the skills. With a win over Robertson, who’s No. 15 in the UFC rankings, she could also have a world ranking. If she strings together a few more victories, she could even earn a shot at reigning 125-pound champ Valentina Shevchenko.
Of course, UFC officials rarely issue title shots on merit alone. Maverick needs the wins, but she also needs a following. She’s working on both pursuits. However, unlike some contenders who earn opportunities with their mouths as much as their fists, Maverick said she’ll do things her way.
“I do try to market myself. I just try to stay humble within that, if that makes sense … ” she said. “Because I do know the negativities that that can lead to in the future if you get too big-headed about yourself. …
“I want to show that work ethic really does pay off. I didn’t come from a rich family. It didn’t come from a line of pro athletes. I didn’t come from a line of fighters. Like, none of that happened. I’ve worked hard to get where I am with the help of my supporters, God, and my family.”