The Pittsburgh native Worthy returns to lightweight and fights for Pinnacle for the first time since 2015, and he’s looking to snap out of a two-fight losing streak and is just 2-4 in his last six.
Roberts will make the trek from Louisville, Kentucky to compete for the first time since April 2016.
For the first time since his fourth pro bout at Pinnacle FC 2 in 2013, Worthy returns to the lightweight division. He made no bones about the fact that the cut to 145 pounds was always super difficult for him, but while he was winning – six in a row from Pinnacle FC 2 to Pinnacle FC 9 – it made sense to keep making the cut. But now at 31 years old, I’m sure his body is much happier about not having to make it all the way down to 145 pounds.
Way back last summer, Worthy announced his return to lightweight mentioning that he was clocking in at 180 pounds at the time.
“My body is really just a lot bigger and stronger than it was before,” Worthy told BluegrassMMA. “I could not keep hurting my performance by making myself smaller just to make weight.”
A pro since 2012, Roberts has stepped in the cage against a pair of current UFC fighters, even holding a win over Jason Knight in his pro debut. In fact, that win was Knight’s only loss prior to entering the UFC in 2015. Roberts came up short in the rematch against Knight in 2014, and he also lost his bout against current UFC welterweight Mike Perry in the Bahamas in 2015. This fight will be the first time he’s been in action since 2016, when he topped Joshua Shaffer at Hardrock MMA 79.
In December, Khama took over ownership of Mark Cherico’s Academy (formerly Fight Club Pittsburgh) and rebranded the gym as The Academy. It’s still home to some of the best fighters in the Steel City, including Worthy and his brother Chaka, as well as Dann Cucuta, Mark Cherico, and more.
A brown belt in BJJ, Roberts has posted half of his pro wins via submission, including an ankle lock early in his career. Although he’s not afraid to slug it out, his best shot in this fight may be to get it to the ground. He’s also a judo orange belt and has a background in the military so he’s definitely a tough guy. He’s also a medical student who will graduate in June.
When we see these two first square off at the weigh-ins, probably the first thing that will stick out will be the height difference and body types. Worthy is lanky at 5’11, while Roberts is more stocky at 5’6. Probably what I’m most interested to see is what Worthy looks like without having to nearly kill himself to try to get to 145 pounds.
Khama has a history of violent finishes under the Pinnacle banner, including over Jacob Butler and Matt DiMarcantonio. What he showed in those fights was an unpredictability cornered on his ability to quickly change speeds and throw his opponent off. He has great “fight flow” and a great fight IQ, and the only time that he really gets into trouble is when he gets a little too aggressive looking for the knockout. But Roberts has just one TKO on his record so that may not be as much of an issue here.
Roberts definitely isn’t afraid to strike, but when he’s faced taller and lankier fighters like Khama – his two fights against Knight are a perfect example – he can have a little trouble getting on the inside to land his shots. He loves to throw looping right hands, and will often lead with the left hook. One thing that I noticed is that he can get caught with the uppercut from dropping his head in exchanges, and he likes to throw spinning back kicks to the body.
I think this fight may be decided on the ground. One thing I’ve always said about Worthy is that he has a sneaky good ground game, which he showed off against Reggie Merriweather and when he submitted Vilaca.