After their fight was canceled at UFC Paris, Katlyn Chookagian and Manon Fiorot finally squared off for the opening fight of the UFC 280 main card.
The highly touted French prospect, Fiorot, came in undefeated in the UFC and looked to steal Chookagian’s number one contender spot and perhaps earn a title shot against Valentina Shevchenko with a win.
The fight opened with Fiorot, in orthodox stance, trying to pressure the southpaw Chookagian. Both women took turns rushing forward with combinations early, at which point the opponent would slide backwards out of the way or just slip the punches. Fiorot looked to work her low side kick to the knee and counter Chookagian’s blitzes with a lead right hook. The volume was quite high but very few punches made a big, clean impact. A front kick from Chookagian was the first large strike of the fight, hitting/grazing Fiorot in the head as she was bent over, but the Frenchwoman ate it without going down. Manon was having trouble catching Katlyn as Katlyn just slid back out of the way when Fiorot threw punches. After five minutes, the head kick from Chookagian was the biggest strike and could have won her the round.
Fiorot began to overextend on her punches in the second round as she tried to catch Chookagian when Chookagian retreated from Manon’s strikes. She did land some but the fight remained close. When she threw straight punches she had much more success than when she looped hooks. Katlyn began to sit down more on her punches when she threw and as such she got into more pocket exchanges, which favored Fiorot, who began to gain a decent lead in round two. When Chookagian threw, Manon began to time and counter her with the straight left, the punch that continually found the target.
The third round began with Fiorot throwing more straight punches down the pipe, continuing her success from the previous round. Chookagian was throwing a lot of strikes but hitting even less than the first two rounds, where she landed at around a 30% rate according to Jon Anik on commentary. Fiorot was not dominating but she was just out-striking her opponent enough to be ahead in the third round. With one minute left, Manon Fiorot level changed and landed a double leg but Chookagian elevated and was able to scramble back to her feet. The fight ended with a knee to the body by Fiorot and the judges would be required.
After three rounds, all three judges had the score 29-28 for Manon Fiorot, who had dethroned the perennial number one contender in Katlyn Chookagian.
Official Result: Manon Fiorot def. Katlyn Chookagian by Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)