This past Saturday on the main card of UFC Vegas 46, we saw a pivotal matchup in the women’s flyweight division. Former title challengers were fighting for the second time as Katlyn Chookagian (17-4) was taking on Jennifer Maia (19-8-1).
Both ladies were looking to continue a winning streak on Saturday. Maia was looking for his second straight win while Chookagian was looking to pick up her third straight. With a win, either would be a step closer to getting another crack at the UFC flyweight title.
Unfortunately for Jennifer Maia, UFC Vegas 46 mirrored the first fight between these two flyweights. The key for Chookagian was keeping the fight on the outside and using long strikes. That’s what she did on Saturday and she looked fantastic doing it.
All night long, Maia was unable to get on the inside. She did land some good shots here and there which showed on Chookagian’s face. However, Chookagian was landing much more often and was landing clean throughout the three round contest.
In the end, all three judges unanimously gave the fight to Chookagian. One of the UFC’s top flyweights picked up her third straight win as she hit the open market.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 46?
An interesting wrinkle was revealed after UFC Vegas 46 when it was announced that Chookagian fought out her contract on Saturday night. The promotion failed to extend Chookagian and once the scorecards were read on Saturday, Chookagian became a free agent.
Now, Chookagian made it clear in the post-fight press conference that she wants to remain a UFC fighter. However, that call will ultimately be left up to the promotion and match maker Mick Maynard. In reality, there is one promotion that could make a push for Chookagian.
That promotion would be Bellator. Chookagian has proven that she’s one of the very best in the world, however, it’s hard to see her becoming a champion in the UFC. Perhaps that could push her to Bellator with a lucrative offer. I could see “Blonde Fighter” becoming a champion with Bellator.
However, let’s say that she does stay with the UFC. If she does, who should she fight next? After the fight, she mentioned that she was interested in fighting Miesha Tate. However, Tate is being booked against Lauren Murphy for her flyweight debut.
Chookagian already lost by first round stoppage to Jessica Andrade so that’s not an option. If I had my pick, I would put Chookagian against Taila Santos (19-1). Santos is a very intriguing top contender and the UFC is looking at her as a future title challenger.
If Chookagian could put her away, you couldn’t deny her another title shot. However, if Santos were to win, she would earn her title shot and would present a compelling challenger to Valentina Shevchenko.