Women’s Flyweights#15 WFLW | Maryna Moroz (11-3, 6-3 UFC) vs. #8 WFLW | Jennifer Maia (19-9-1, 4-5 UFC)
ODDS: Moroz (-190), Maia (+160)
Despite an unsuccessful 2022 campaign thus far, Maia is still chugging along as a solid but unspectacular fighter. Already established as one of the better flyweights outside the UFC when the promotion picked her up in 2018, the Brazilian lost her Octagon debut to Liz Carmouche but has hung around on the fringes of the title picture in the years since. There is not much to Maia’s game. She is a decent striker but a bit plodding at times, and her underrated physical strength allows her to bully around most opponents, leading her to some grimy victories over a vast swath of competition. It also earned her a round on the scorecards when her turn finally came to face flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko; that is more success than most opponents have found, even though Maia has struggled to turn it into meaningful momentum in the two years since. Maia rebounded with a win over Jessica Eye in 2021, but she has gone winless in 2022. Perennial contender Katlyn Chookagian outmaneuvered her, and Manon Fiorot proved to be the rare physical talent who could neutralize her strength. She will look to turn things around against Moroz, who gets a big opportunity at a breakout win. The Ukrainian was a complete unknown upon her stunning 2015 UFC debut—a quick armbar victory over then-top strawweight contender Joanne Wood that ranks as one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. However, Moroz’s momentum quickly crashed back to earth with some losses and frustrating performances before a move up to flyweight in 2019. A win over Sabina Mazo showed some of the developments that Moroz has made over the years—a trend that has continued when she has actually been able to make it to the cage. It would be nearly a year until her return against Mayra Bueno Silva, which in turn led to a two-year layoff prior to her March victory over Mariya Agapova. The Silva win could be instructive here, as Moroz used her reach to pick apart a plodding striker for the better part of three rounds. While she leaned on her wrestling in her win over Agapova, that is likely to be a bad idea against Maia, who still figures to be the stronger fighter if the tie up. Maia tends to find a way to fight on her terms, win or lose, so the Brazilian should be the more reliable bet, even if there are some clear paths to victory for Moroz. The pick is Maia via decision.
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