UFC on ESPN+ 21: Danny Roberts hails pre-fight gameplan after highlight-reel KO in Moscow

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Danny Roberts scored a highlight-reel knockout of Zelim Imadaev as he bounced back into the win column in spectacular fashion at UFC on ESPN+ 21 in Moscow, and he said his victory was all down to perfect preparation.

Appearing on ESPN’s post-fight show, Roberts (17-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC) explained how he and his team had the dangerous first-round finisher well scouted heading into the matchup, and prepared their gameplan accordingly.

“We knew what we had to do,” he explained. “I wanted to be a little bit different, look more dynamic and just apply a good gameplan and wait for the right time.

“It was crazy because we were watching his last fight with Max Griffin and he’s sloppy with the back hand. I was waiting for the right time, and we’d slip off to the side or come over the top and connect with a nice shot. It paid off, so I’m happy.”

All eight of Imadaev’s career wins were of the knockout variety – with five coming inside the first round – so Roberts knew that he could exploit his opponent’s mental and physical fortitude by dragging him deeper into the contest and wearing on him with some of the more grueling aspects of MMA: wrestling and clinch work.

“I could feel him wearing down slowly, bit by bit (with) the takedowns and returning back to our feet,” he explained. “I put a couple of knees to the body, and bit by bit I could feel him sapping. If you were to play Mortal Kombat, his gauge was going down pretty quick, and it was just a case of me being patient with it and waiting for that time to exploit him.”

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It was a tactic that paid off in style, as Roberts wore down the explosive Russian and finished his man with a lightning-fast left hook that sent Imadaev (8-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) spinning down to the canvas. It was a highlight-reel moment for the Brit, who says he has made a habit of bouncing back from setbacks in eye-catching style.

“Anyone who knows me, they know that if I’ve ever fallen short, the next fight you’ve gotta watch out for something big coming, and that’s what happened tonight.”

As for what’s next, Roberts says the most important thing for him now is to become more consistent in his performances as he looks to level up in 2020.

“If I put my hands on anyone, they’re going to go to sleep,” he said. “I might be a skinny welterweight, but at the same time I commit to things and I follow through with heart, strength and power.

“I’m looking forward to whoever (the UFC) want to bring. I just want a consistent 2020 (and to) come out strong. It’s about getting that consistency more than anything now.”

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