Erin Blanchfield vs Manon Fiorot predictions | UFC on ESPN 54 1

Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot meet in the main event of UFC on ESPN 54 this Saturday night.

As always, we’re here to break down not just this main event but the rest of the fight card as well, so be sure to check out our UFC predictions hub for more free picks.

Betting Odds

Blanchfield is a considerable favorite before UFC on ESPN 54.

  • Erin Blanchfield: -200 (BetUS)
  • Manon Fiorot: +165 (BetUS)

Blanchfield vs. Fiorot predictions

Braeden Arbour

Fiorot vs. Blanchfield is not only a great fight but will also likely leave us with a better sense of who the next looming title challenger is at the end of the night. Oddsmakers at the moment seem to favor Blanchfield, and although the odds could be tighter, the favorite and underdog roles make sense.

Manon Fiorot has an excellent Karate background which allows her to manage distance very well. In the same vein, she utilizes traditional techniques such as chaining sidekicks behind missed Thai kicks to maintain that distance in tight situations. She also does a good job of mixing up her jabs and lead hooks from the southpaw stance. However with the exception of her last fight, quite a few of her opponents were able to find the target with high kicks, a particularly effective weapon in the arsenal of Blanchfield.

Blanchfield has a good Muay Thai style, she works behind a testing jab, and lands good straight shots and kicks. When she feels comfortable she will shift to southpaw where that head kicks comes into play. Both women are usually fairly game to scrap, however Blanchfield especially has a highly regarded grappling game. She transitions her striking to grappling, and is equally effective using her wrestling feints to set up her striking. Either way she mixes things up and finds her opportunities to floor her opponents at a very high level.

In top position Blanchfield has a steady passing game. She likes to wrist control and smother, as well as use kimura traps to set up her advancement. I would be surprised if this easiest route to victory over the in-and-out footwork oriented Fiorot is not something that Blanchfield implements early and often. I think we see moments from both fighters on the feet but the grappling acumen of Blanchfield is the biggest disparity between the women.

Pick: Blanchfield to win (-200 at BetUS)

Michael Pounders

For the second week in a row, we get a women’s flyweight main event. And, while Namajunas vs Ribas may not have delivered in the entertainment department last week, Erin “Cold Blooded” Blanchfield and Manon “The Beast” Fiorot should put on an exceptional show. Both women are ranked in the top 5, both are undefeated in the UFC, and both have a legitimate claim to be Grasso’s next opponent.

Blanchfield, who has swollen to a near -200 favorite throughout the week, is only 24 years old yet she fights with the consistency and tenacity of a much more experienced fighter. “Cold Blooded” is an exceptional grappler who weaponizes pressure and cardio until she finds the finish or punishes her opponent for the full fight. Her striking, however, is reminiscent of a 24-year-old prospect. She is making significant strides on the feet, as evident in her last fight, but her progress is still steps behind pure strikers in the division. Blanchfield tends to rely on pressure and volume on the feet, foregoing technique and range knowledge. This results in her throwing a lot of volume, namely hooks, and hitting a lot of air while she moves forward. Then, when Blanchfield has faced a technically sound striker, she’s taken a fair amount of damage. But, she’s shown impressive and important toughness to continue to walk through fire to implement her game plan. Again, that game plan is pressure heavy and relentless grappling. Even if she doesn’t finish her takedowns, Blanchfield can find success in the clinch and through cardio. But, if she does get her opponent down, which she only does at a 36% clip, then Blanchfield really shines. Her pressure seems to ramp up to another level when she hits the canvas, working position to position while she implements heavy ground and pound in search of a submission finish.

Fiorot, on the other hand, is an exceptionally skilled and well-schooled striker with stout takedown defense. With a karate background, Fiorot brings much of the same style into the cage. She keeps range well, while point fighting with kicks and an intelligent jab. Fiorot tends to fight with incredible consistency, both in terms of style and output. Her typical approach is to bounce in and out of range, landing around 25-35 significant strikes per round, and picking her opponent apart from a safe distance. Then, if she hurts her opponent, she’ll quickly bounce into range and unload a high volume of knees and elbows in the pocket or clinch, all of which have the power to end the fight. When forced to defend takedowns, Fiorot’s karate stance and style aids her natural strength. Because she stands so narrowly and is always bouncing, she is tough to time up and even tougher to get ahold of, unless her opponent can cut off the cage and take away her range.

When I first looked at this fight, I leaned toward Fiorot because Blanchfield has proven to be hittable on the feet and has struggled to get larger and stronger women down. Then, I looked into it more and flipped to backing Blanchfield because of Fiorot patience on the feet and predictable volume, I liked Blanchfield’s pressure and cardio to take over throughout a 5-round fight. Upon looking a third time, the odds have helped me land on my final choice. I think the opening odds in this fight, with Blanchfield as a slight favorite, were correct. I expect Fiorot to look good early, touch up Blanchfield as Blanchfield works to time up Fiorot on the feet. Then, once Blanchfield gets the timing down, I expect her pressure to overtake the fight and for Blanchfield to find more success in the later rounds. However, the opening odds have swollen to a point where I see value on the underdog. In such a close fight, I’ll gladly the +160 number rather than laying the -200 juice. Give me Fiorot to win a closely contested fight on the back of her movement and precise striking.

Pick: Fiorot to win (+160 at BetUS)

Joe Pounders

Erin Blanchfield, a young, elite flyweight, has made an impressive climb through the division, going 6-0 in the UFC so far. Within those fights, she has beat former title challengers, and in those fights, has shown flashes of elite attributes.

Notably, Blanchfield is an elite wrestler with impressive ground control and finishing abilities. Having the ability to be elite in one aspect of MMA is critical when facing the best of the best of any division, male or female. Moreover, being able to overcome adversity, particularly adversity with implementing an ideal game plan is critical, and Blanchfield has shown that ability.

In Blanchfield’s last fight, she failed to secure a takedown on 14 attempts when facing the extremely dangerous, former title challenger, Taila Santos. While that fight was razor close, the ability for Blanchfield to find a way to get her hand raised against such an elite challenger and when failing to get the fight to the mat where she is best shows she is a championship-caliber fighter. And, given her age, it is a strong bet to say she will be champion of the flyweight division.

Her opponent in this fight, Manon Fiorot, is too an elite flyweight having gone 6-0 in the UFC, securing wins over former title challengers and title holders alike. The difference between Blanchfield and her is that where Blanchfield ideally wants to earn victory through grappling, Fiorot favors striking as her path to victory. Doing so is somewhat obvious for her as Fiorot has elite striking from range, having both comfort on the feet and an arsenal of attack that is diverse and highly technical. While the fight-ending ability may not be as stark as a Taila Santos, Fiorot is arguably the best striker in the division. And, knowing she is one fight away from fighting for the belt, it is not surprising to note that Fiorot has ironed out her grappling, whereby she has the skills to stuff takedowns and can work her way up off the mat if taken there. While the case, she has not had to do so against a caliber of wrestler that Blanchfield is, so where Blanchfield has shown the ability to win a fight via an atypical style, Fiorot has not needed to do so yet, but this fight may prove otherwise.

Both women are elite fighters who can fight for, and win, the flyweight belt. When two fighters of the caliber of Blanchfield and Fiorot square off against one another, I like to analyze two critical components of analysis when projecting the victor: first, which fighter has the more likely path to dominate the fight, and second, which fighter has shown the ability to win via a non-ideal game plan. The answer to each of those questions is Erin Blanchfield.

In this fight, I expect the striking to look close, but do favor Manon Fiorot. And, while I would not be surprised to see Fiorot stuff takedown attempts of Blanchfield early, I do anticipate Blanchfield being able to get Fiorot to the mat, secure her there, and from that secured position, begin to land damage and potentially find a submission. So, given the grappling advantage and the demonstrated ability to win via striking against an elite opponent of Taila Santos, I am confidently backing Erin Blanchfield here.

Pick: Blanchfield to win (-200 at BetUS)

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