Does Lauren Murphy deserve a title shot after UFC 254?

Lauren Murphy, UFC

One of the more vocal fighters after UFC 254 was flyweight contender, Lauren Murphy (14-4). Murphy was originally supposed to take on Cynthia Calvillo, but at the last minute she ended up fighting Lilya Shakirova at UFC 254.

The flyweight contender looked really solid in all areas on Saturday. Murphy looked solid on the feet, and she showed good skills on the ground. Murphy said she wanted to lock up her first submission victory and she was able to do just that.

UFC 254 marked the fourth straight time that Murphy has made the walk successfully. She’s taken on ranked opponents in the division and finished two of her last four opponents. Murphy was very vocal about wanting a title shot in her post-fight interview.

Later on at the post-fight press conference, Murphy continued to show frustrations of getting passed up. She talked about Jennifer Maia.ย getting the next shot at Valentina Shevchenko. Let’s just say that Murphy is not thrilled with Maia’s title shot.

What should the UFC do?

For context, JoJo Calderwood was originally supposed to face Valentina Shevchenko in June. However, the UFC champion sustained an injury that would cause the fight to be delayed. Calderwood decided to roll the dice and fight Maia.

Maia went on to finish Calderwood by submission in the first round. Because of the finish of the top contender, the UFC decided to give Maia the shot. However, her resume doesn’t really scream top contender as she’s just 3-2 in her last five fights.

Granted, her two losses were to former title challengers. Murphy does have a point in that she’s won four in a row against ranked caliber opponents. So what should the UFC do? Obviously, the promotion isn’t going to take away the title fight from Maia.

I also don’t think sitting and waiting is going to help Murphy. Instead, I think the UFC should book her against who’s probably the front runner for the next title shot, Jessica Andrade. Andrade made her flyweight debut at UFC Fight Island 6 and finished top contender Katlyn Chookagian.ย 

The former strawweight champion is finally competing in what she believes is her natural weight class. Andrade just fought and Murphy just fought. The logical move to me is to have the UFC pair both of them together and the winner should fight the flyweight champion early next year.

UFC books JoJo Calderwood – Jessica Eye

The UFC is planning on a big time women’s flyweight fight on their January 23rd fight night card. First reported by MMA DNA, JoJo Calderwood (14-5) will take on Jessica Eye (15-8, 1 NC) in a battle of two top six UFC flyweights.

For Calderwood, the fight against Eye is going to be a big chance for her to bounce back. Calderwood was originally supposed to get a UFC title shot back in June. However, due to an injury to the champion, the fight was called off.

Calderwood wanted to stay active so she took a short notice fight against Jennifer Maia. This proved to be a big mistake as Maia submitted her in the first round. Maia was awarded Calderwood’s UFC title shot for her submission victory.

This fight is also a big chance for Jessica Eye to bounce back. Eye is just a couple of fights removed from her shot at Valentina Shevchenko. Eye won against Viviane Araujo, however, she was not successful in her last outing.

She welcomed Cynthia Calvillo to the UFC‘s flyweight division back in June. Calvillo used a steady wrestling attack to stifle and defeat Eye by decision. It was a bad loss for the former top contender who also failed to make weight for the fight.

Sizing up this UFC matchup

This has all the makings for a really fun contest in the UFC‘s flyweight division. Calderwood has really good standup and she uses a variety of kicks and spinning techniques. Her style is pretty entertaining to watch when fights are standing.

Eye has very solid boxing of her own. Whenever she feels comfortable and in range, she’s a very tough opponent for anyone in the UFC‘s flyweight division. She’s going to have to be very active with her hands in this contest.

Whoever wins this fight could be right back in title contention. However, the loser of this contest is going to be looking at a steep climb to get back to the top. This should be a fantastic matchup with a lot on the line for both contenders.

Cynthia Calvillo – Lauren Murphy targeted for UFC 254

UFC 254 is getting a fight between two top five women’s flyweight contenders. Cynthia Calvillo (9-1-1) and Lauren Murphy (13-4) are expected to throw down per MMA Fighting.

Fight for the next UFC title shot?

Cynthia Calvillo didn’t mess around when she made the move up to flyweight this year. After struggling with her weight to stay at strawweight, Calvillo moved up to what’s more of her natural weight class.

In her first fight in the division, she took on the number one ranked contender at the time, Jessica Eye. Eye had only lost one fight in the division and that was to the current UFC champion, Valentina Shevchenko.

Calvillo and Eye got a main event slot at UFC on ESPN 10, and Calvillo put on quite the performance. She used her strong grappling base to neutralize Eye and get the unanimous decision victory.

Because she moved right in and took out the number one contender, she made her flyweight rankings debut at number two. Her impressive victory in her first fight proved that she could hang, and some thought she could be ready for a title shot.

We now know that Jennifer Maia is getting the next shot at the champion, Shevchenko at UFC 255. With that, Calvillo will need one more fight to get to a title shot.

That is where the fourth ranked fighter in the UFC‘s flyweight division, Murphy, steps in. Murphy is no joke herself and she’s coming into this contest riding a three fight winning streak.

In her last fight, Murphy put on an excellent performance over the tough Roxanne Modafferi. That win put Murphy squarely in the top five, perhaps just a win away from the title shot.

These two ladies are likely next in line for a shot at the title. We do not know what this means for Katelyn Chookagian. However, these two will face at UFC 254 and the winner will likely have their eyes focused on the UFC 255 co-main event.

BREAKING: UFC 255 headlined by Figuiredo – Garbrandt and Shevchenko – Maia flyweight title fights

The UFC news is coming fast and furious today. Dana White told ESPN today that the promotion is going to have two flyweight title fights at UFC 255. Deiveson Figuiredo (19-1) will be taking on Cody Garbrandt (12-3) and for the women, Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) will be taking on Jennifer Maia (18-6-1).

Two UFC Flyweight Title Fights

This is massive news for the promotion. The UFC has said that they were working on Figuiredo’s first title defense, and he has a tall order. The former bantamweight champion, Garbrandt has teased moving down to flyweight.

He said recently in an interview that he wanted to go down and claim a second title. Figuiredo is coming off of a dominant victory over Garbrandt’s former teammate, Joseph Benavidez at UFC Fight Island 2.

This is a massive matchup and a very interesting one. TJ Dillashaw tried doing what Garbrand’s doing and showed a diminished chin in a first round TKO loss to Henry Cejudo. Will Garbrandt fair better?

Figuiredo looks like he can become a dominant champion in the UFC that can reign for a long time. However, Garbrandt is by far the biggest challenge that he could face at flyweight. This will be a fantastic matchup.

One of the most dominant fighters in the UFC is flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko. She has walked through who has stood in her way outside of Amanda Nunes.

She was scheduled to fight JoJo Calderwood back in June, but an injury forced the UFC champion to withdraw. Jennifer Maia defeated Calderwood last week to earn her title shot. The victory prompted a callout from the champion.

Two massive flyweight title fights headline a very impressive card from the UFC. The promotion is going to really be kicked into high gear for the rest of 2020. Who do you think will walk away from UFC 255 with flyweight gold?

 

Three fights to make after UFC Vegas 5

UFC, Dana White

Last night, the UFC returned home to Las Vegas with an event at the APEX. The main card didn’t disappoint and there were several story lines that came out of last night.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at three fights the UFC should move to make following UFC Vegas 5.

Derek Brunson vs Jack Hermansson

Derek Brunson (21-7) made a massive statement last night. Everyone (including myself) thought that Brunson was going to get run over like he did against Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker.

However, Brunson was composed and put on arguably the best performance of his career in stopping Edmen Shahbazyan. Now the question becomes, what’s next for Brunson.

In looking at the rankings, a match that makes a ton of sense is a fight with Jack Hermansson (21-5). The Joker is also coming off of a big win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Fight Island 2.

Hermansson has been vocal about wanting to fight Darren Till next, but with Till’s injury, I think Brunson makes a lot more sense. Plus the two men are both coming off big wins.

If the UFC were to pair these two up against each other, the winner could be next in line to fight for the title. Obviously the title is booked up for a while as Adesanya fights Costa and Whittaker fights Cannonier for the next shot, but a Brunson/Hermansson winner wouldn’t be far behind.

Valentina Shevchenko vs Jennifer Maia for the UFC Flyweight Championship

Despite the impressive performance last night from Derek Brunson, the star of UFC Vegas 5 for me was Jennifer Maia (18-6-1). Maia took on JoJo Calderwood who was supposed to fight Valentina Shevchenko (19-3) for the title.

Shevchenko got hurt so the UFC title fight with Calderwood was called off. Calderwood didn’t want to wait around so she decided to take a fight against top contender Jennifer Maia. This has proved to be a massive mistake.

Maia looked tremendous last night. She was winning the stand up battle and when Calderwood took her down, it didn’t take long for the BJJ blackbelt to throw up a slick arm bar. The champion tweeted out her thoughts after the fight.

Maia poses an interesting challenge given her skills, but she will be a massive underdog against Shevchenko. Shevchenko is head and shoulders ahead of anyone in her division. However, Maia proved last night that she’s a game opponent and she’ll be willing to bring the fight to the champ.

Edmen Shahbazyan vs Ian Heinisch

Last night we saw the Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) hype train hit a wall. The Golden Boy was being touted as the next big thing. However, after he wasn’t able to finish Brunson early, it appeared that Shahbazyan still had miles to go in development.

The UFC is in an interesting spot trying to book Shahbazyan’s next fight. He definitely needs a top 15 opponent. In looking at the rankings, I think a fun matchup could be with Ian Heinisch (14-3).

Heinisch bounced back big time after back-to-back losses back in June with a first round TKO over Gerald Meerschaert. Heinisch is currently ranked as the thirteenth best middleweight in the UFC.

These two would make sense from a rankings perspective and it would be a really fun fight for fight fans. I think the style matchup would be a lot of fun. If the UFC would rather aim lower to build Shahbazyan back up, another option could be Antonio Carlos Junior.

I believe that Shahbazyan will work his way back up eventually. He’s still extremely young and has all the talent in the world. Last night was a humbling fight and a reminder of just how special young Jon Jones was.

UFC Vegas 5 Recap: Derek Brunson derails the Shahbazyan hype train

Derek Brunson

The UFC made their Las Vegas return tonight. Headlining the first card back in the United States was a middleweight contest between Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) and Derek Brunson (20-7). UFC Vegas 5 was highly anticipated and it didn’t disappoint.

Derek Brunson breaks Edmen Shahbazyan

In the main event of the evening, Derek Brunson was looking to spoil the party for the 22 year old UFC phenom, Edmen Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan was headlining his first card while Brunson was headlining his fourth.

As the first round started both men were just feeling the other out. Brunson started the action with a couple of kicks. Shahbazyan landed a crisp right which Brunson countered with a body kick.

Brunson looked incredibly patient to start looking for his openings. Brunson shot forward with a couple of big shots and landed a takedown. Shahbazyan was able to work his way back up to his feet but ate some big shots.

Shahbazyan started throw massive shots which opened the eyes of Brunson. Brunson remained patient almost seeming to fight in slow motion at times. Shahbazyan threw a knee that Brunson used to clinch him. Close first round that I give to Shahbazyan.

Brunson opened the second round with a leg kick but Shahbazyan landed a massive body kick to counter. Shahbazyan looked to be going more to the body in the second.

Brunson started really looking to grapple early on in the second round. Shahbazyan landed another massive body kick and a couple of shots. Brunson then landed some big shots of his own before trying for another takedown.

Shahbazyan really started to look tired about three minutes into the round. Brunson really started pressing the action when Shahbazyan looked tired. Brunson landed another takedown on an exhausted Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan started taking massive shots. Dominant second round for Brunson.

In the final round, Brunson immediately pressed forward landing big shots. Shahbazyan crumbled. Herb Dean called a stop to the action after Shahbazyan showed nothing. Statement win for Derek Brunson.

Jennifer Maia Armbars her way to a UFC title shot

The co-main event of the evening featured a women’s flyweight contest between Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (14-4) and Jennifer Maia (17-6-1). Calderwood elected to stay active against Maia despite having a UFC title shot guaranteed once Valentina Shevchenko heals.

As the fight started, Calderwood immediately started looking for kicks. Maia was pushing forward looking for big 1-2’s. Maia started landing some big shots early on. Calderwood took a couple of clean shots down the middle that got her attention.

Maia was finding a home for her right hand a ton in the first two minutes. Calderwood kept looking for kicks to keep the distance and score points. Calderwood caught a kick from Maia and used it to take the fight to the ground.

Maia looked for some submissions off of her back, but couldn’t get anything to stick at first. Calderwood just looked content to hold top position. Out of no where, Maia throws up an armbar. She locked it in and Calderwood was forced to tap.

Crushing defeat for Calderwood who was supposed to fight for the title in June. With that win, Maia will likely be next for the champion. In fact, the champ had something to say about her win.

Vicious knee leads to a finish for Vicente Luque

The third fight of the main card had fight of the night written all over it. The UFC paired welterweights Vicente Luque (18-7-1) against Randy Brown (12-3).

Early on in the first round, Luque landed a massive leg kick that got Brown’s attention. Luque continued to spin Brown around with a couple of additional calf kicks early. Brown started landing a crisp jab that reddened the nose of Luque.

Luque continued to pepper the lead leg of Brown with inside and outside calf kicks. Brown stepped in but was met with a massive right that floored him from Luque. Luque let Brown back up to his feet with about two minutes left.

Brown seemed to get his feet back under him and started landing jabs again. Luque was just stalking Brown near the end of the round. Brown was rocked again which forced him to shoot for a takedown. The round ends and it was a clear one for Luque.

As the second round started, Brown landed a massive body kick to start things. Brown looked more comfortable to start the second landing some decent combinations off the jab. Luque dropped Brown with a calf kick about a minute into the round.

Luque allowed Brown to get right back up. Brown tried firing off his jab to keep Luque off of him. Luque continued to plot forward just stalking Randy Brown. Brown did start to gain momentum back with some good knees in the clinch.

With about a minute left in the round, Brown got a big takedown into side control. However, Luque was able to get right back up. Luque clinched up with Brown and landed a massive knee that floored Brown. A few follow up shots ended the fight. Great finish for Vicente Luque.

Bobby Green wins entertaining scrap with Vannata

The main card was kicked off by a rematch between lightweights Bobby Green (25-10-1) and Lando Vannata (11-4-2). The two men fought to a draw back at UFC 216 in 2017.

Both men were talking before the fight even started. They both took the center and immediately started trying to figure out their range. Green looked really smooth in the opening minute evading shots and landing some good counters.

Both men stepped forward with big shots and Green hit the deck for a just a second after a massive right from Vannata. Green was able to bounce back quickly. About a minute later, after hitting the deck himself, Green dropped Vannata with a massive right of his own.

Vannata worked his way back up to the feet and the two men resumed their stand up fight. Both fighters seemed to rock each other in a big exchange towards the end of the round. Very fun first round that I give to King Bobby Green.

Green took the center to start round two and landed a stiff jab. Vannata tried for a takedown thirty seconds in, but couldn’t land it. These two could not stop talking to each other in the cage.

Vannata started showing some real damage on his nose from the stiff straight shots from Green. Green continued to pepper Vannata with jabs. Vannata landed a couple of clean shots which forced a Green takedown attempt. Vannata pulled guard for a guillotine but couldn’t secure it.

The two ended up back on their feet with about two minutes left in the round. Green started pepping Vannata again with straight shots. Vannata shot for a takedown and was able to get it near the end of the round. Despite the takedown, Green still landed the bigger shots. Another round for Bobby Green.

Both men started the final round with a big high five. The two started exchanging immediately and Vannata seemed to land a shot that wobbled Green. They clinched and started throwing bombs at each other.

On the break, Green landed a massive shot that put Vannata down. Green got on top and started landing bombs. Somehow, Vannata was able to survive. After regaining his composure on the bottom, Vannata was able to work his way back up two minutes into the round.

Halfway through the round, Green shot in for a takedown and was able to get Vannata down. Green landed some pretty decent elbows from the top position. Vannata worked his way up with about a minute and a half left.

Vannata tried to push forward for the last minute, but Green seemed a step ahead. Green put on a great performance and takes the final round and the fight on my scorecard 30-27. The judges agreed giving the fight to Green unanimously (30-26, 30-27, 30-27).

UFC Vegas 5 Final Takeaways

The UFC returned to Vegas but didn’t do it without some adversity. There were fights cancelled to undisclosed reasons, COVID, and a fighter fainted before making the walk. Despite that the night delivered with some solid fights.

Jennifer Maia to me was the star of the night. Weeks ago she was just another top ten UFC flyweight and now she’s the likely number one contender.

Tonight also proved that Edmen Shahbazyan is not quite ready for the top competition in the UFC’s middleweight division. He looked completely lost after he couldn’t finish the fight in the first round.

UFC Vegas 5 Preview: Can Derek Brunson stop the Edmen Shahbazyan hype train?

The UFC returns to it’s home base tomorrow night. The promotion is back at the APEX with a solid card that is headlined by middleweights Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) and Derek Brunson (20-7). Let’s take a look at the main card for UFC Vegas 5.

Can Brunson stop the UFC’s Golden Boy Shahbazyan?

The main event of the evening is a three round middleweight contest featuring Shahbazyan and Brunson. The fight is three rounds due to the fight originally being planned as the co-main event.

Shahbazyan comes into this fight with a ton of hype. Many people believe than he’s the next big thing in the UFC‘s middleweight division.

The promotion has been bringing him along slowly and the 22-year old phenom has answered the call every time. He took on Brad Tavares in his last fight and put on a clinic.

Shahbazyan has very crisp striking. He throws clean straight shots and possesses dynamite in his hands and legs. In addition to that, he’s got really good grappling. He’s truly a well-rounded guy.

Despite hating the name, Derek Brunson is the gatekeeper of the UFC‘s middleweight division. He doesn’t lose to guys in the lower half of the top 15, but he always loses against top five talent.

Brunson is coming into this fight coming off of back-to-back wins. In his last fight, Brunson was dropped in seconds against Ian Heinisch but bounced back to grab a decision victory.

Brunson has a wrestling background that he mainly uses for defensive purposes. He boasts an incredible 100% takedown defense. Brunson also has really good power and he’s used that in his knockout wins over Lyoto Machida and Uriah Hall.

While Brunson is a very solid fighter all around, he’s very hittable and I think he’s very chinny. To me, this fight reminds me a lot of the Israel Adesanya fight with Brunson.

Brunson was there to take on the guy everyone viewed as the next big thing. In that fight, Brunson got lit up like a Christmas tree and stopped in the first round. Brunson has been stopped in the first round four times in his career.

While I’m not saying Shahbazyan is Style Bender, I think the fight is going to go the same way. I think the accuracy and the speed of Shahbazyan’s shots will just be too much. I don’t believe Brunson has the chin to make it out of the first round. In my opinion, Shahbazyan will prove he’s the real deal tomorrow night.

Prediction: Edmen Shahbazyan by KO – Round 1

Joanne Calderwood vs Jennifer Maia

The co-main event of the evening features a likely title eliminator match in the UFC women’s flyweight division as Joanne Calderwood (14-4) takes on Jennifer Maia (17-6-1).

Taking this fight was an interesting choice for Calderwood. She is stepping up on short notice, but she was next in line to face UFC flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko. That fight had been booked but cancelled due to the champ’s injury.

Now, Calderwood is taking on a dangerous contender in Maia and putting her title shot on the line in this one.

Calderwood comes into this contest 3-1 in her last four fights with the lone loss coming against Katlyn Chookagian. Calderwood is one of the more entertaining fighters in the division.

When she’s striking, she throws with decent volume and has a wide range of striking techniques. You will likely see her throw some spinning techniques. In addition to that, she’s very good in the clinch. She does a fantastic job of landing good shots from that position.

Maia is the former Invicta flyweight champion and she’s coming into this contest 2-2 in her four UFC fights. Her two wins coming against Alexis Davis and Roxanne Modafferi.

Maia is the type of fighter who’s not elite anywhere, but she’s very good everywhere. She’s got decent striking, she’s got decent submissions, and she’s got good offensive grappling.

For Maia to win this fight, she really has to push the pace and land with volume. I’m not sure either of these ladies will be getting a finish, so the highest output might take this one.

While it’s extremely dangerous to risk her title shot, I like JoJo Calderwood to come through tomorrow night. I just think she’s going to use her range well and I think she’ll be able to control the grappling positions. Expect some cage work tomorrow night.

Prediction: JoJo Calderwood by Unanimous Decision

Vicente Luque vs Randy Brown

The third fight of the evening is a popular fight of the night pick as UFC welterweights Vicente Luque (18-7-1) and Randy Brown (12-3) go to war.

Luque ranks just outside the top ten in the welterweight division. He’s 11-2 in his last 13 fights with his only losses being to Stephen Thompson and Leon Edwards.

Luque has one of the better killer instincts in the UFC‘s welterweight division. When he hits people, they go down. He’s also got very good submission skills which could come into play in this fight. Luque is coming off of a doctor stoppage TKO victory over Niko Price back in May.

Randy Brown came to fame as one of the first guys to appear on Dana White’s Looking for a Fight. Since joining the UFC Brown is 6-3 with wins over Mickey Gall and Bryan Barberena.

Brown is coming off of a win over Warley Alves by triangle choke last November. Despite his wrestling background, Brown is the type of fighter who loves to strike. He’s got good length and pretty decent stand up.

In this fight, it would be wise for Brown to try to use some of his grappling to neutralize Luque’s power. At least give Luque multiple attacks to think about.

When thinking about this fight, I definitely believe that Randy Brown can win with his skillset. However, I don’t think he will. I believe he will have some success, but Luque will catch him before the fight is over.

Prediction: Vicente Luque by TKO – Round 3

Lando Vannata vs Bobby Green

The second fight of the main card is a rematch between lightweights Bobby Green (25-10-1) and Lando Vannata (11-4-2). Both men fought to a draw back at UFC 216.

Back in 2014, Bobby Green was emerging as a top contender in the lightweight division. He was coming off back-to-back wins over top guys like Josh Thomson and Pat Healy. Then, his career took a sharp downturn.

Since the Thomson win, Green is just 2-5-1 in his last eight fights. Green had retired after the Trinaldo loss last year, but he returned back in June to face Clay Guida. Green picked up a decision win in that fight.

Bobby Green has pretty good stand up and he’s got very good defensive grappling skills. He’s got pretty good speed as well in his striking.

Lando Vannata came into the UFC at 8-0. He became a replacement to take on the lightweight divisions boogieman in Tony Ferguson in his debut. Vannata almost finished Ferguson in that fight which shocked everyone.

Many people believed that Vannata would become one of the top contenders at lightweight after that fight. However, it hasn’t gone that way. Vannata is 3-3-2 in his last eight fights. He is also coming into this fight like Green coming off a decision win.

Vannata has good pop in his shots and throws a very diverse striking attack at his opponents. That could be a key in a fight against a guy like Green who mainly uses his boxing. In their first fight, Vannata was able to hurt Green bad on the feet.

This is a fight that I keep going back and forth on. I’m not entirely sure which Bobby Green is going to show up on fight night. If this was prime Green, I’d lean that way. However, I think Vannata is going to be able to get it done.

In the end, I think the diverse striking attack and higher output numbers from Vannata will help him. This is truly a fight that I think will be razor close. Don’t be shocked to see the judges split here.

Prediction: Lando Vanatta by Split Decision

Trevin Giles vs Kevin Holland

The opening fight of the UFC Vegas 5 main card is a middleweight contest between two prospects in Trevin Giles (12-2) and Kevin Holland (17-5).

Giles came into the UFC with a lot of hype behind him. He got some pretty good wins over guys like Brendan Allen and Ryan Spann on the regional scene before he made the UFC jump.

After debuting with back-to-back knockout victories, Giles is just 1-2 in his last three fights. Many people (including myself) thought he lost the split decision to James Krause which is his only win.

Giles is pretty good everywhere offensively. He’s got good grappling offense and he’s got good power with solid striking. Giles does fade in the later rounds so it’ll be very important for him to get off to a good start.

Much like Giles, Kevin Holland had a good amount of hype behind him when he started with the promotion. He got a nightmare of a first draw in Thiago Santos which he lost by unanimous decision.

Since that loss, Holland is 4-1 and he just fought back in May stopping Anthony Hernandez in under 40 seconds.

Holland is extremely long holding an 81 inch reach. He’s extremely well rounded and has pretty good cardio. In addition to those qualities, Holland has a very good chin which he showed off in that Santos fight.

When thinking about this fight, I struggle to see a path to victory for Giles outside of a knockout. When you go down the list, Holland beats him in most categories.

I think Holland will use his reach well in this fight, and I think he will do solid in the grappling exchanges. I’m going with a decision, but Holland could get a third round finish in this one.

Prediction: Kevin Holland by Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 5 Outlook

This card is so entertaining from top to bottom. There are a ton of intriguing matchups, but all eyes are going to be on Edmen Shahbazyan. Can he break through and become the next big UFC superstar? That is a question that will be answered tomorrow night.

UFC: JoJo Calderwood accepts replacement fight against Jennifer Maia

The UFC‘s top contender in the women’s flyweight division is not waiting around for the champ to get healthy.

Top contender, Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (14-4) has decided to take a short notice fight against Jennifer Maia (17-6-1) on the UFC‘s upcoming August 1st card.

Calderwood was scheduled to fight the undisputed queen, Valentina Shevchenko (19-3), back in June. However, the champ has been healthy and there haven’t been any updates on when she’ll be ready to return.

Instead of waiting around, Calderwood is stepping up to take a fight next week. Calderwood would enter the contest 3-1 in her last four fights with the lone loss coming against Katlyn Chookagian.

Huge UFC flyweight implications

This fight is presenting itself to be a massive opportunity for Maia. Maia will come into this fight ranked sixth in the UFC‘s flyweight rankings whereas Calderwood is ranked third.

If Maia is able to pull off the victory, it would vault her right into title contention. This is a massively risky fight when you think about it for Calderwood.

Maia is coming off a loss to Chookagian, but prior to that, she had won two consecutive fights against former UFC title challengers Alexis Davis and Roxanne Modafferi. Maia is no joke.

Whoever wins this fight on August 1st might be next in line for a crack at Shevchenko. Although, if Maia wins, you might see the UFC pivot to Cynthia Calvillo who won her flyweight debut back in June.