The UFC card on Saturday has been unofficially deemed a British Invasion. Originally scheduled for England, the card was pushed back and eventually moved to the Apex in Las Vegas, however, the British talent originally scheduled will still be put up to their tests this weekend. The sole women’s fight booked will see Liverpool’s own Molly McCann take on Korea’s Ji Yeon Kim in a bout in the women’s flyweight division.
Both women debuted in the UFC within a year of one another, and share similar records, McCann at 10-4 and Kim at 9-3. At similar points in their careers, a win this weekend will be a big step up for whoever comes out on top and a blow to whoever does not. Just outside the UFC rankings, a win on Saturday could potentially prompt one of these women into the top #15.
McCann vs. Kim betting odds
Similar records, similar experience in the UFC, and even similar styles. The odds on McCann and Kim are split right down the middle with a 50-50 shot.
McCann vs. Kim breakdown
Both women, within their MMA careers, have been predominantly boxers. That’s not to say they do not have a well-rounded skill set, but historically most of their best work has come from their hands.
Molly McCann is the shorter fighter, with a reach of only 62 inches to Kim’s 72. However, her style reflects someone who typically gives up the range to her opponents. McCann utilizes quick and dynamic footwork, she will mix up shuffles, lunges, switch stance, and other forms of entries in order to overload her opponent’s reactions. In doing so she allows herself to burst into the pocket where she throws quick combinations, which are very hook-heavy. She has been willing to eat a punch in order to land a combo of her own and usually takes care to end the exchanges on her terms.
She has been a victim of the UK’s somewhat lacking wrestling scene. While she has an understanding of the position, there are often moments in transitions where she is visibly thinking. That is to say, transitional grappling is not second nature to her yet, and because of this, she does find herself one step behind her opponents in defense or she finds herself unable to chain wrestle when she is trying to regain control.
That being said, if she can find her way into a solid position such as mount, her boxing does translate into her ground and pound and she can wreak havoc on the mat given these positions.
Kim, although also primarily a boxer, is a bit more well-rounded. Compared to McCann’s zero submission wins, Kim’s three are significant. However, these came early in her career, especially in the UFC it has been her hands that do the most work.
Usually enjoying the reach advantage, Kim likes the long game compared to McCann’s in the pocket style. She is not a fast or explosive puncher but she is extremely accurate. She doesn’t throw with the volume, so each shot she does throw has to matter, and she lands with surprising sting for how slow the strikes actually look. This sometimes leads to her losing exchanges but turning the tides with one whipping punch that generates so much force by the end connection.
She is by far the more patient fighter, and will probably look to slow the action in order to take full advantage of her length and accuracy. She is also most often a counter striker.
McCann vs. Kim prediction
I think the big name of the game for McCann will be her footwork. If she finds herself stagnant on the outside, Kim will light her up with long punches. If she finds herself stuck too close, in the clinch I don’t think she wins out most of the grappling exchanges, although she may be the stronger fighter. If she can stay on her bike, use her footwork to dart in and out while landing her flurries, I think she can ultimately overwhelm Kim. Look for her to really lean on her head movement and pace in this one.
Prediction: Molly McCann to win via decision
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.