Alternating wins and losses in her last six fights, Jennifer Maia is 3-3. Five of the six fights went to a decision, one of which was a championship bout against Shevchenko. Manon “The Beast” Fiorot is one year younger than Maia but has only had three UFC fights. She finished her first two via knockout and won a unanimous decision in her most recent fight.
Fiorot is a significant favorite over Maia who represents a lucrative payout should she pull off the upset.
- Fiorot: -440
- Maia: +340
Maia earned a title shot on the back of toughness, intelligent pressure, and a well-rounded game. Offensively, on the feet, Maia is a hardnosed Muay Thai fighter who can hold a tightly gripped clinch while unloading sharp elbows and thudding knees. On the mat, Maia is a competent wrestler; and, with her jiu-jitsu, is a dangerous grappler. Her best attribute, though, is her toughness and persistence. She can fight through adversity, walk through heavy shots, and keep pressuring forward. Maia’s biggest struggle, most evident when she fought for the belt, is her range striking and output. At range, Maia, who tends to fight flat footed and moves almost exclusively straight forward, can struggle against flowy, light-footed, and movement-heavy strikers. Specifically, when her opponents are able to push a high pace and move laterally, Maia can struggle to engage the clinch and get the fight to her world.
Fiorot implements a bouncy karate style striking game that creates a lethal combination of power and output. Fiorot has shown a wide variety of strikes despite only having 3 UFC fights. Her boxing is crisp, technical, and high volume. Her kicking game, though, is her most impressive attribute. Fiorot is able to land snapping leg kicks, quick front kicks, and dangerous head kicks in tandem with a boxing combination and without telegraphing the shots. In the clinch, where this fight is likely to be at times, Fiorot is strong and technical, capable of landing heavy knees without sacrificing position. The biggest question in Fiorot’s game is how she’ll fare on the ground when a talented wrestler has top position. Offensively, Fiorot is a solid wrestler but she has not been put in compromising positions from her back by fighters as skillful as Maia.
Maia’s path to victory is to get Fiorot down early and force her to fight from her back and uphill for the rest of the fight. Meanwhile, Fiorot can win this fight at range, in the clinch, or on the ground if she’s intelligent and on top. I anticipate Fiorot’s mobility and range kicking game being the deciding factor in this one but a finish is unlikely given Maia’s toughness.
Prediction: Fiorot by decision