The co-main event of UFC Fight Night 200 will feature a rematch in the women’s flyweight division. Both Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia recently tried their luck against reigning champion Valentina Shevchenko, within their last five fights. Although neither was able to capture gold, both have maintained their position atop the highest echelon of the division. Prior to their bids for the championship, the two had actually met in the cage back in 2019, in a fight that was actually the title eliminator at the time. Chookagian won, but three years later the two women will compete again, fighting for another step towards a second title shot and for Maia a chance to avenge a previous loss.
Chookagian vs. Maia betting odds
Having won once before over Maia, Chookagian enters the rematch as the -180 favorite with Maia the underdog. This means that a $100 bet on Maia will return a profit of $150.
Chookagian vs. Maia beakdown
Chookagian vs Maia I believe will be dictated much by who can control the range and fight their fight. Chookagian is the longer fighter and knows how to maintain the distance where she can land and not be hit, doing this by using a bit longer of a stance, and a bent-over posture just enough that she can lean back and create space without much effort. In their first fight one of the glaring discrepancies was that when the two exchanged jabs, Chookagian was either able to land an inch away from Maia’s punch, or if they both landed, Chookagians penetrated just a tad more. Working at a range with those long straight punches and kicks favors Chookagian. What she also does extremely well is constantly circling short, staying a good distance away from the cage so as not to allow herself to get backed up and stuck between it, instead of moving laterally and maintaining her room.
For Maia, her style is best when she can box. She is shorter, keeps a high guard bobbing side to side with good rhythmic upper body movement. She also has a slight advantage in power I believe, but has trouble getting into range safely to land it at times. Instead, she does better when she is able to draw out an attack and counter because her constant head movement already gets her in good momentum to duck and punch seamlessly. Although Chookagian is very good at not allowing herself to get backed to the cage, Maia should pursue this, she is very good at winning head position and pummeling, and although this did not mount to much in their first fight, Maia’s grappling and clinch skills have evidently improved since then. Even if she cannot mount much offense from there, going back there and controlling position to wear out and frustrate Chookagian may be a good ploy, but it will take discipline to do so.
Chookagian is likely the better pure jiu-jitsu artist, but Maia has a more physical presence especially in wrestling positions. While I think Maia could put numbers on the clock in control time, it’s unlikely she has the submission game to threaten Chookagian unless she finds a way to hurt her with strikes first. For Chookagian, rather than worrying too much about how well she can defend against the cage or on the mat, should have the tools to redirect any attempt from Maia to get her there. By constantly ending her combinations with kicks, especially her front leg roundhouse, Chookagian is often able to make opponents backup and reset before engaging again. If she can stick to this against Maia, the opportunities to shoot and actually push Chookagian back will be minimized.
Chookagian vs. Maia prediction
Both fighters have improved since they last fought, and while the fight will once again be three rounds, it will be in a smaller octagon at the Apex. This may help slightly in implementing Maia’s style, however, I think that Chookagian’s ability to maintain range and make Maia take risks coming in will win her the rematch as well.
Prediction: Katlyn Chookagian to win via decision