Improving to 4-1 in the flyweight division with a win over Jennifer Maia at UFC 244, Katlyn Chookagian is looking for a shot at the belt.
Kaytlyn Chookagian’s clash with Jennifer Maia at UFC 244 was widely expected to serve as a title eliminator, until Maia went and missed weight, throwing a wrench in the works. While Chookagian was nearly a lock with a win, a Maia victory could leave an opening for one of the division’s other contenders.
The only fight on the women’s side at UFC 244, the pairing served as the featured UFC Fight Pass prelim.
When Chookagian and Maia got underway it was the American using her length, via the jab, to keep Maia on the outside. She mixed in some leg kicks, and early on, Brazil’s Maia had to puzzle out the timing in an effort to find a way in. As the round progressed, she did just that, finding her way inside, but it was far from easy, and Chookagian was able to land a number of her counters. Maia would then push for a clinch by the cage, looking for a takedown. Unable to overcome the power and size of Chookagian, Maia found herself back in center, with Chookagian going to the body, then head, mixing up her strikes well. Another high kick followed, then a right hand, and a push kick. Maia was having her own success at times, keeping the fight close, with a slight edge in favor of Kaytlyn Chookagian.
Maia connected with a leg kick early in the second, but again, Chookagian’s reach was allowing her to keep her opponent outside. Chookagian was throwing with solid volume, mixing in the odd leg kick, and feints. Maia answered back with a jab, but her combos were falling short. Her leg kicks, however, were not, as Chookagian was showing some redness. While Maia had a better second round, Chookagian had found her groove.
Chookagian opened the third with a couple of leg kicks, while Maia opted to clinch and try to get the fight down, any way possible. When that failed, it was back to trying to close the distance, and Maia finally did land a heavy right hand. Not heavy enough to rock Chookagian, however. Maia would at long last land a takedown with just over a minute left in the fight, but that didn’t leave her much time to work. In the end, it simply wasn’t enough. Chookagian earned the unanimous decision.
“The UFC knows exactly who I want,” Chookagian said post-fight, referring to champion Valentina Shevchenko. If she doesn’t get it, she added, she’ll keep taking out contenders til they give her the champ.
Official Result: Katlyn Chookagian def. Jennifer Maia by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)