UFC 266 Prelim Breakout Star: Nick Maximov

UFC 266: Volkanovski vs Ortega Fight Card

UFC 266 Prelim Breakout Star: Nick Maximov

MMA Manifesto

UFC 266 Prelim Breakout Star: Nick Maximov

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The Prelim Breakout Star is a once-per-event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.

Nick Maximov

Affiliation – Nick Diaz Academy
From – Chico, California
Height – 6’0″
Weight – 185 lbs (Middleweight)
Record – 6-0 (0-0, UFC)

 

What makes him impressive

While he does demonstrate some of the things you’d expect from a Nick Diaz disciple, the heavy wrestling and grinding jiu-jitsu is more of what Maximov specializes in. He’s a regular on Submission Underground and can typically be seen using his top game to make his opponents suffer. He works well to the back when given the opportunity, which plays up even better in MMA than it does in submission grappling. He also has a number of leg locks that he uses, although those are much less likely in an MMA fight.

 

Why he has been overlooked

Maximov appeared on 2020’s season of the Contender Series. On it, he jumped up to heavyweight to take a late notice fight against Oscar Cota, weighing only 209 lbs in doing so. While he won the fight, he didn’t look as dominant as he has on the regional scene, likely due to the size discrepancy. Dana offered him a spot on the then-upcoming TUF season instead of a UFC contract, to which I can only imagine he said ‘no’ to. With so few fights and a seemingly lackluster performance on his biggest stage to date, it’s difficult to see why people would be hyped on him.

With that being said, the bookmakers see the potential he has, even if the hype isn’t high. Currently, for this match-up, he’s at pick’em odds of -108 (Odds by FanDuel).

 

What makes this a good match-up

Karl Roberson is a guy who’s been kicking around the middle- and light heavyweight divisions for some time now. He puts together a win or two here and there but never seems to go on an extended run. Some of that seems to be due to a weakness in his defensive wrestling. His losses mostly come to fighters who can take him down and submit him. In fact, in all of his last four losses he was finished with a submission. This seems like the UFC cherry-picking the right opponent for a bright newcomer, and I have faith that Maximov will get it done.

 

Prelim Breakout Star Record: 227-107-1 (2 NC) (13 DNF)

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