Casey O’Neill returns at UFC 286 against Jennifer Maia

Casey O’Neil

The UFC has finalized a matchup between two ranked women’s flyweight contenders for March. MMA Fighting confirmed yesterday that “King” Casey O’Neill (9-0) will be returning in March to take on former title challenger Jennifer Maia (20-9-1).

The matchup will go down in London at UFC 286. Back in 2020, Jennifer Maia earned a shot against Valentina Shevchenko after she submitted JoJo Wood. In that fight against Shevchenko, Maia had a dominant grappling round which really shed a light on a path to beating Shevchenko.

Now, Maia would go on to lose the fight, but she had a lot of momentum after the title loss. Since then, it’s been a mixed bag of results for her in the UFC. She’s gone 2-2 with her two losses coming against top contenders Katlyn Chookagian and Manon Fiorot.

She last fought in November when she took on Maryna Moroz. Now, she gets the opportunity to fight one of the biggest prospects in the UFC.

UFC return for King Casey

Casey O’Neill defeated Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 271 and then got into it with the crowd. She had a ton of heat on her and momentum after that win. Then she tore her ACL which kept her out the rest of 2022.

Thus far, she’s gone 4-0 inside the octagon and she looks like a fighter who could eventually contend for the flyweight title. Now, it’ll be interesting to see how she look in her return from the ACL injury. Sometimes it doesn’t impact fighters and other times they look incredibly rusty.

Jennifer Maia is a tough test and I’m very curious to see how King Casey looks in March.