At UFC Vegas 42, Cortney “Cast Iron” Casey and Liana “She Wolf” Jojua will meet in the women’s flyweight division. A former FN Global champion, Jojua had fans chomping at the bit to see her fight when she entered the UFC in 2019. Yet, the 26-year-old Georgian has suffered mixed results in the octagon so far, going 2-1 promotionally. Casey on the other hand, with a total of eighteen fights has already competed with some of the division’s best including Claudia Gadelha, Angela Hill, and Michelle Waterson. However with fighting the best comes mixed results as well.
Casey currently has a dead-even record of nine wins and nine losses but will look to tip the scales on the winning end against Jojua this week. For Jojua, her last fight ended disappointingly, due to a large gash on her nose, resulting in a call from the doctor, while Jojua all but begged him to let her continue. She will look to make good on her next chance at victory this Saturday.
Casey vs. Jojua odds
Jojua comes in the decently sized underdog against Casey who stands at a good -200
- Cortney Casey: -245
- Liana Jojua: +205
Casey vs. Jojua Breakdown
Cortney Casey will enjoy a large reach advantage 67 inches to 62. This is a strength that Casey has used beautifully when she stands her ground, throwing hooks and uppercuts in the openings of her opponent’s guards from a good distance. However, when moving forward, Casey has also shown a bad habit of over committing, letting her feet follow her hands, and ending up in too close a range to use her reach.
This has also led to clinch exchanges that do not benefit the American, which is a good possibility against Jojua. Jojua with her background in Muay Thai does have solid hands and a good understanding of striking. However, against Casey, who both utilizes reach and diversity better- she probably shouldn’t look to entertain the stand-up more than she has to. Jojua in her UFC career has so far leant on her boxing, trying to negate the reach advantage she has given up to all her UFC opponents, by backing up and only standing her ground when her opponent steps in carelessly. She uses the right cross best in this case, and she also has a sharp left hook to finish off her combinations.
A consistent phrase heard in Jojua’s corner between rounds as of late has been “stop waiting”. This tactic of moving back and picking when to intercept her advancing opponents, has also left her down on the scorecards. She does not have the fastest reflexes and so she does eat some shots this way and the striking stats add up against her.
Prior to her UFC debut, Jojua mixed in the teep and her leg kick a bit more but has since almost worked exclusively with her hands. This makes it difficult to counter kicks from the outside, a weapon Casey should look to use.
Jojua’s best work so far has been on the ground, with six submissions across her eight wins thus far, all but one by way of armbar. A very technical grappler, Jojua’s Jiu Jitsu in the octagon has looked reminiscent of a rolling session. She is extremely patient, she will defend her opponent’s work early in the sequences and stay out of danger, while maintaining control. She will also not rush submissions, against Diana Belbiţă at UFC Fight Island 1, Jojua methodically snuck her legs into position while staying tight with her chest. Instead of trying to snap the arm back in a quick submission attempt, Jojua roller her opponent over and adjusted her angle each time Belbiţă defended until she got the arm where she wanted.
The area she finds difficulty with on the ground is in high-paced scrambles, Jojua’s calmness has worked against her when she hesitates, losing 50-50 positions, where instincts should take over.
In comparison, Casey’s game is much more scramble-based, when she looks for submissions they are often quick attempts, snatching an arm or neck. She has also looked to jump the back in transition, but is not always successful. She takes risks, and when she sees an opportunity to work towards the win quickly she will bite at it, rather than stick to the game plan at all times. However, when she cannot attack submissions, she does have difficulty positionally. If there is one knock on her skillset it is in the wrestling department, where she gives up bottom control and lacks takedown defence.
Casey vs. Jojua Prediction
I can see Casey getting the better of Jojua in the exchanges early, using her speed and reach and frustrating “She-Wolf”. However, because of her habit of overcommitting through the distance, I can also see Jojua getting the reactive takedown and finding little resistance. From there Casey should look to cause as much chaos on the ground, scramble and attack from the bottom.
Ultimately though, when Jojua can slow down the pace and emphasize the technical battle she can maintain one step ahead of Casey in the grappling department, which is where I think she can pull ahead. At +205, for my money, Liana Jojua is the underdog to bet on at UFC Vegas 42.