After suffering her first UFC loss, what’s next for Erin Blanchfield?

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Atlantic City - Blanchfield vs Fiorot
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the main event of UFC Atlantic City, we saw a potential title eliminator in the women’s flyweight division. Top contenders Erin Blanchfield (12-2) and Manon Fiorot (12-1) battled it out as both were looking to remain unbeaten inside the octagon.

Both were 6-0 in the UFC entering Saturday night and both had extremely dominant bases. For Blanchfield, she’s been extremely dominant with her grappling while Fiorot has dominated her opponents with her striking. The big question was around whose style would win out.

From the opening bell, you could tell that Blanchfield was going to struggle. When she forced the grappling exchanges where she was supposed to have the advantage, she didn’t have the strength that Fiorot had. In fact, throughout the fight, Fiorot was the only one who landed a takedown.

Without being able to take Fiorot down, Blanchfield was a sitting duck. She never stopped coming forward and fighting, but she was constantly getting hit with clean counters from Fiorot over five rounds. When the scorecards were read at UFC Atlantic City, it was a clean sweep for Manon Fiorot.

What’s next after UFC Atlantic City?

With this loss, Blanchfield is no longer unbeaten inside the octagon. However, I think it’s important to remember a couple of things. First and foremost, we’ve seen so many great fighters lose in the UFC and come back better than ever. Secondly, Blanchfield is just 24-years-old so she’s not even close to her fighting prime.

One thing that’s clear after Saturday night is that Blanchfield desperately needs to work on her striking. We know she is, but if she’s not able to take her opponents down, she’s shown that she can’t compete with the top strikers in the division. That said, I fully believe she can tighten that up over time.

So, what should be next for Blanchfield? I think a good fight would be with former UFC title challenger Katlyn Cerminara. Rose Namajunas and Maycee Barber are likely going to fight next assuming Fiorot waits for a title shot. Considering the rankings around Blanchfield, this is the best option for a fresh opponent and it would be another really tough fight given her style. That fight would give her a real chance to show improvement.

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