Former UFC women’s flyweight title challenger Jennifer Maia is set to face one of the division’s rising stars in merry old England.
Maia (20-9-1) will take on Casey O’Neill (9-0) in a 125lb fight as part of UFC 286 in London, England on March 18, 2023. News of the booking was first reported by Dama de Ferro MMA. Cageside Press subsequently confirmed the booking with a source familiar with the situation.
For O’Neill, the fight marks her return after what will by March have been over a year on the sidelines. The Australian was last seen in action in February of 2022, defeating the retiring Roxanne Modafferi by split decision.
Prior to that, “King” Casey had earned wins over Shana Dobson, Lara Procopio, and Antonina Shevchenko, all in 2021. All three victories came inside the distance, with O’Neill earning a Performance of the Night bonus for her TKO finish of Shevchenko.
O’Neill had been expected to face Jessica Eye last April, but tore her ACL, leading to her extended hiatus.
Maia will enter the fight off a win over Maryna Moroz in November that snapped a two-fight skid. The Brazilian, a former Invicta FC flyweight champ, had dropped back-to-back contests against Manon Fiorot and Katlyn Chookagian.
Prior to Taila Santos last year, Maia also arguably had a claim to fame for having one of the better, if not best, performances against women’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko. The pair faced off in November 2020 at UFC 255, with Shevchenko winning a unanimous decision, though Maia took at least one round on all three scorecards.
UFC 286 is expected to be headlined by British welterweight champ Leon Edwards, though no fight has been officially announced. Taking place at the O2 Arena in London, the following bouts have been reported for the event:
- Marvin Vettori vs. Roman Dolidze
- Joanne Wood vs. Luana Carolina
- Malcolm Gordon vs. Jake Hadley
- Jennifer Maia vs. Casey O’Neill