With the loss of the UFC Vegas 65 main event with the card already underway, a women’s flyweight contest between Ukraine’s Maryna Moroz and former UFC title challenger/Invicta FC champ Jennifer Maia found itself promoted to the featured preliminary fight slot.
The fight was a story of two competitors on very different trajectories, as Maia had lost two straight, while Moroz had won three, and was taking a step up in competition.
The pair went right at it Saturday, trading on the feet, both looking light on their feet and showing constant head movement. Maia’s footwork, however, kept Moroz from finding the mark, while Maia found a home for her right hand and a kick to the body. Maia would keep landing that right hand, briefly catch a kick, then back Moroz up. Moroz would later catch a kick herself, but Maia stayed up, reversed, and drove Maryna Moroz into the fence with just over a minute left in the round.
A battle for head position ensued, as Maia stayed strong. Moroz defended with a whizzer, but Maia snaked a leg through Moroz’s own, looking for a trip. Still Moroz stayed upright, fighting off the takedown right to the horn.
Round two saw the pair continue to exchange on the feet, with Maia continuing to get the better of those encounters. Moroz was still holding her own, but Maia’s right hand remained the difference-maker. The Brazilian began putting more behind her punches, and she was timing Moroz well. Come the end of the round, Jennifer Maia was likely ahead, and Moroz’s corner told her to finish her in the final frame.
Moroz caught a leg earlier in the third, but couldn’t do anything with it. She began pressing, backing Maia up. A right hand for Moroz landed flush, and Maia was sent off-kilter, though it was more of a stumble, and the Brazilian appeared to be fine. Still, Moroz was having her best moments of the fight, and was arguably winning the round by the halfway point. Maia, however, moved in with that right hand of hers again, which was still right on the money.
With time winding down and a finish nowhere in sight, Moroz was in danger of losing on the scorecards. Maia connected with an uppercut in the final minute. A right hand also landed for her. Moroz continued to fire, and Maia tied things up. They fired one last exchange before the bell, but it was Maia securing the victory.
Official Result: Jennifer Maia def. Maryna Moroz by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)