UFC San Antonio: Roxanne Modafferi Reacts to Maia Missing Weight, Suggests Rules Change For Fighters Coming in Heavy

No stranger to opponents missing weight, Roxanne Modafferi was not deterred by Jennifer Maia coming in heavy — but feels missing weight should have consequences in the cage, not just in the wallet.

San Antonio, TX — UFC flyweight Roxanne Modafferi made weight Friday morning for her flyweight fight at UFC San Antonio. Opponent Jennifer Maia did not. That adds a new wrinkle to their upcoming battle, which already had a rather compelling story line. The pair meet on the preliminary portion of the ESPN card, a rematch of their Invicta FC battle from 2016.

That title fight saw Modafferi (23–15) lose a close split decision, in a fight that represented one of the best performances of her career to that point, despite being a loss. Saturday in San Antonio, she’ll be looking for revenge — though win or lose, she’ll have a little more in the way of compensation after Maia’s miss at the scales. That’s because Maia will now be turning over 30% of her purse, having come in at 129lbs.

“The Happy Warrior,” meanwhile, is just happy the fight is a go. “I can’t wait. I fought her three years ago, I can’t wait to get back in there, fight Jennifer Maia and redeem myself,” Modafferi told Cageside Press on Friday, after the UFC San Antonio weigh-in. “I was shocked actually that she came in three pounds over. I know she’s always a professional, has been in the past. It was a three and a half week notice, so it’s not super close. But I mean, I’m just glad she’s not ill, the fight’s going to happen.”

A former title challenger in the UFC, for the inaugural flyweight championship, getting this fight back means a lot to Modafferi. More so even than her fight against Sijara Eubanks. And the perennially upbeat Modafferi is confident, adding that despite her opponent being heavy, “I’m still going to take the victory home with me.”

Modafferi does, however, have a suggestion for what to do when fighters come in heavy, beyond simple fines. “I still wish they had a rule that would allow missed weight to effect the fight,” she said. “For example, give a person a yellow card and take away a point at the beginning of a round. I’d really want to push that toward future athletic commissions.”

It’s similar to how things have been handled in Japan, a country Modafferi is very familiar with, having started her career there. Pride used to employ yellow cards for stalling. ONE Championship used them for certain fouls early on as well.

It’s not just sour grapes — though it’s hard to picture Modafferi ever being sour. She’s been faced with opponents missing weight before, most recently Sijara Eubanks at UFC 230 in New York last year. Modafferi lost that one, but then, she started at a disadvantage.

She returns to action Saturday off the second win of her current UFC run, however. That came at UFC St. Petersburg, against Antonina Shevchenko — sister of flyweight champ Valentina. “I’m just so thrilled there’s 125, and I can fit into it,” she said in regards to the flyweight division, that didn’t exist during her initial UFC run. “For a long time, I had been hindered, it was limiting for me because UFC only had 115 and 135. Now I’m fighting people in my weight class. I feel good about it.”

After getting a shot for the belt early on, a couple of wins could put her back in the title picture, given the UFC could easily sell a vengeance storyline involving her and the Shevchenko sisters. First up, however, is old rival Maia.

“I would like to take the victory by a beautiful jiu-jitsu submission,” Roxy said enthusiastically Friday. “However realistically, I would like to take her down and elbow her. Which is usually how I’ve been winning lately,” she admitted. “Until I can achieve that mastery of a submission, like Ronda Rousey’s arm-bar, for example, I’ll do what I’ve got to do.”

Roxanne Modafferi
Roxanne Modafferi Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press