This past Saturday on the prelims of UFC 263, we saw a pivotal matchup in the women’s flyweight division. Top six contenders went head-to-head in a potential title eliminator as Lauren Murphy (15-4) took on Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-6).
The fight was extremely close on Saturday night. In the first round, both ladies were able to do some solid work on the feet. It was an extremely tough round to score and I could have seen an argument for either fighter getting the nod in the first round.
The second round was all Lauren Murphy. Murphy was able to secure a takedown early and she controlled the entire round from the top position. In the third round, Murphy was not able to get Calderwood back to the ground.
Both of the fighters slugged it out in the third round at UFC 263, but Calderwood clearly got the better of the striking exchanges. With that, the two went to the scorecards. It was clear who won the second and third round, but the first was very much up in the air.
I could have easily seen three outcomes based on those three rounds. All three of these were arguable at UFC 263: Murphy by decision, draw, Calderwood by decision. It all would come down to how the second round was scored and who won the first round.
In the end, two of the three judges gave the fight to “Lucky” Lauren Murphy. A massive win for her as she made it five in a row in the UFC.
What’s next after UFC 263?
As mentioned, Lauren Murphy has put together five consecutive wins in the flyweight division. The only one above her in terms of consecutive wins is the current flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko (21-3).
Murphy was vocal after her last win at UFC 254 in October that she wanted a shot at the title. Of course, Jessica Andrade ended up getting the shot and was thoroughly dominated by the champion at UFC 261.
Having won her fifth in a row, is Lauren Murphy next? Well, I have to say that I would personally give her the shot. She’s won five in a row and she’s the only one in the top four who hasn’t had a crack at Shevchenko yet.
Dana White didn’t commit to giving her the next UFC title shot, but he acknowledge that it’s a real possibility. Really, there’s only one other top contender who has an argument and that’s Katlyn Chookagian (16-4).
Chookagian holds a victory over Lauren Murphy and she’s currently ranked second in the division ahead of Murphy. However, Chookagian did get a shot against Shevchenko last year and was dominated by the champion.
I don’t want to see Murphy fight Chookagian again and I personally don’t want to see Chookagian fight Shevchenko again right now. I think it’s time that Lauren Murphy gets her UFC title shot. It’s a new fight for the division and Murphy has earned it with five consecutive wins in the flyweight division.