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Molly McCann vs. Julija Stoliarenko full fight preview | UFC London

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women’s Flyweight talents Molly McCann and Julija Stoliarenko will throw down this weekend (Sat., July 22, 2023) at UFC London inside The O2 Arena in London, England.

In her last bout, McCann was pretty effortlessly dispatched by Erin Blanchfield (watch it), sure-fire evidence that “The Meatball” isn’t going to contend anytime soon. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to. In the last two years, McCann has earned her status as an English star thanks to a trio of bonus-winning performances. As a result, she’ll always have a place on these London cards. Conversely, Lithuania’s Stoliarenko has yet to make such an impact. She’s won just once in five trips to the Octagon, putting her back to the wall in this sixth appearance.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:

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HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

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Molly McCann

Record: 13-5
Key Wins: Priscila Cachoeira (UFC Fight Night 147), Ariane Lipski (UFC Fight Night 154), Luana Carolina (UFC London), Hannah Goldy (UFC London)
Key Losses: Erin Blanchfield (UFC 281), Talia Santos (UFC Fight Island 1), Gillian Robertson (UFC Liverpool)
Keys to Victory: McCann is a brawler. She’s added some decent double legs to her game more recently, but for the most part, McCann earns her paychecks on the strength of good combinations and heavier-than-average hands.

Takedown defense hasn’t always been a strong suit for McCann, who has been handled on the mat previously. Fortunately, Stoliarenko isn’t much of a wrestler. She’s a dangerous submission fighter, but her takedowns leave something to be desired.

If McCann controls the center of the cage, she shouldn’t have too much difficulty remaining upright. She’ll have to be wary in the clinch, where Stoliarenko will attempt wonky throws, trips, and even guard pulls. A few elbows and knees from close distance can help deter those antics, and it’s also beneficial that McCann does good work with body-head combinations.

After softening Stoliarenko up, McCann’s offense should continue to open up as the fight wears on.

Julija Stoliarenko

Record: 10-8
Key Wins: Priscila Cachoeira (UFC Fight Night 147), Ariane Lipski (UFC Fight Night 154), Luana Carolina (UFC London), Hannah Goldy (UFC London)
Key Losses: Erin Blanchfield (UFC 281), Talia Santos (UFC Fight Island 1), Gillian Robertson (UFC Liverpool)
Keys to Victory: Stoliarenko is a grappler first and foremost, having won nine fights via submission. In fact, all nine of those wins came via armbar, including her sole UFC victory. On the feet, she’s a scrappy kickboxer with iffy defense.

If she doesn’t collapse on the scale again, Flyweight seems the better division for Stoliarenko. Her game relies on forcing her foe to the floor in ugly fashion, then letting her jiu-jitsu skills go to work. Ugly takedowns work better with a size advantage, and fortunately, McCann’s wrestling isn’t impenetrable.

Stoliarenko might as well blitz early on in an attempt to get McCann’s back to the cage. From that position, she should be able to get a wrap on her foe. From the clinch, Stoliarenko has a decent chance at tangling McCann up and dragging her to the canvas. Worst case, she can pull guard.

Armbar or bust.

Bottom Line

This is a showcase fight for McCann.

The London crowd loves to get behind McCann, and thus far, she’s done her job in living up to their expectations! Really, her recent matchmaking has been a masterful display. McCann became an unexpected star in London, so obviously she’s going to be given winnable fights on those cards. Then, UFC sacrificed her in the US to build up Blanchfield’s star, which does nothing to hurt her UK stardom!


On the other hand, Stoliarenko is obviously the b-side here, brought in largely to lose. Put simply, her UFC career is on the line. The women’s Flyweight division isn’t overflowing with talent, but a 1-5 athlete is not likely to be kept around. If she can pull off the upset, however, Stoliarenko has now won two of her last three and has a bit of job security.

At UFC London, Molly McCann and Julija Stoliarenko will battle in the co-main event. Which athlete earns the victory?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC London fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 3 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC London news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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