Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Flyweight standouts Katlyn Chookagian and Manon Fiorot will throw down this weekend (Sat., Oct. 22, 2022) at UFC 280 inside Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
In a non-Valentina Shevchenko world, Chookagian probably would have captured the belt at least once by now. She doesn’t win every single fight, but the veteran has won her last four in a row, and she’s very established as a mainstay of the Top 5 at Flyweight. Fiorot is a much newer face to the division, just four wins into her UFC career altogether. However, she has far more striking experience than most at 125 pounds, and Fiorot is clearly a talented athlete with quite a bit of potential to shake up the ranks.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:
Key Wins: Amanda Ribas (UFC Vegas 54), Viviane Araujo (UFC 262), Joanne Wood (UFC 238), Jennifer Maia (UFC Vegas 46, UFC 244), Alexis Davis (UFC on FOX 30)
Key Losses: Valentina Shevchenko (UFC 247), Jessica Andrade Jessica Eye (UFC 231), Liz Carmouche (UFC 205)
Keys to Victory: Chookagian has some real skill with her distance kickboxing. She isn’t the heaviest hitter, but Chookagian can put enough pop on her jab and low kicks to earn her opponent’s respect and force them to play her game. She’s also got a pretty sneaky high kick that can do some considerable damage.
Chookagian is going to get the distance kickboxing battle she desires — that’s Fiorot’s game too! Perhaps the most important key to victory is adjusting to her opponent’s Southpaw stance. Chookagian’s best weapons are the jab and right low kick, both of which are complicated against a leftie.
Chookagian has to adjust her right leg higher, targeting the body and head more often. A quick flash of the jab then heavy punt to the open side will land effectively. If she can angle off and win the outside foot battle, even better.
Really, the key here is volume. These two aren’t really knockout artists, and the wrestling is likely to cancel out. Therefore, whoever throws more is likely to come out on top of a close decision.
Key Wins: Jennifer Maia (UFC Columbus), Mayra Beuno Silva (UFC Vegas 40), Tabatha Ricci (UFC Vegas 28)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Fiorot is a Karate black belt with a dozen amateur Muay Thai fights. She’s experienced in striking competition and has an athletic style of fighting. Just for fun, however, take a drink every time she throws a jab-cross body-right hook punctuated by a right side kick.
Don’t actually do that: you might die.
Over-reliance on that specific combo aside, Fiorot’s athleticism is her great edge here. She’s faster and seems to hit harder than Chookagian. When her strikes land, she tends to knock her opponent backwards far more often. Plus, if one of the two is likely to land a clinch takedown, the strength advantage means it’ll probably be Fiorot.
All of that sounds good for swaying the judges. If Fiorot can pick her spots, land the harder blows, and keep the volume game close, she’s setting herself up for the biggest win of her young career.
This could be a title eliminator.
As mentioned in the lead up to last week’s main event battle between Viviane Araujo and Alexa Grasso, the women’s Flyweight title picture is uncertain. Valentina Shevchenko’s next title defense is unclear both in timeline and opponent. As such, any strong performance from a top contender could stake their claim.
That’s especially true for Fiorot. The French striker is a much-needed injection of talent at 125 lbs., so there’s every chance she could be fast-tracked to a title shot. Taking out a bonafide elite contender in Chookagian would really prove her readiness, even if that’s still a massive jump in competition to “Bullet.”
Chookagian, meanwhile, did get smoked by Shevchenko in their first fight. A second title shot may be hard to come by, but punctuating a five-fight win streak by turning away the division’s hottest prospect is a major accomplishment.
At UFC 280, Katlyn Chookagian and Manon Fiorot will open the main card. Which woman will earn the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 280 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPNEWS/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard (also on ESPNEWS/ESPN+) at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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