UFC Atlantic City: Manon Fiorot Takes Clear Decision Over Erin Blanchfield

Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot, UFC Atlantic City ceremonial
Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot, UFC Atlantic City ceremonial weigh-ins Credit: Jake Noecker/Cageside Press

Capping off a night full of finishes at UFC Atlantic City at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday were flyweights Manon Fiorot and Erin Blanchfield.

A fight with clear title implications, the winner of Blanchfield vs. Fiorot would be primed for a shot at the UFC women’s flyweight championship, though the trilogy fight between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko would no doubt come first.

Fiorot got her combinations going early, before moving in for a takedown just past a minute in. Blanchfield, however, locked up a guilltoine, with Fiorot rolling and moving back to her feet, with Blanchfield holding onto the choke! She would eventually lose it, and the pair would return to center after a rather thrilling, fun sequence.

The rest of the round played out on the feet, the pair trading frequently and occasionally clinching up.

Round two saw Fiorot, clearly the more technical striker, leading with her jab. Blanchfield closed the distance for a clinch, seeking a takedown with the bodylock, but Fiorot essentially overpowered her and bounced back to her feet. Again, Blanchfield looked for a bodylock takedown with a trip; this time, Manon Fiorot fought off the attempt.

By the end of the second frame, Blanchfield’s plan of striking to close the distance, then landing a trip/bodylock takedown, appeared to be failing her. Whatever Plan B was, she was going to need to switch to it at some point.

The third round opened with Blanchfield try to press the action, with her corner having told her between rounds that Fiorot was tiring. There didn’t seem to be much evidence to that, however, with Fiorot continuing to land her right hand. Clinched up, with was Manon Fiorot with the apparent strength advantage, though she opted to break rather than spend much time pinning Blanchfield.

By the final 90 seconds of round three, Blanchfield had a trickle of blood by her right eye. Fiorot, meanwhile, continued to fight a smart, technical battle.

Things got scrappy early in round four, where Blanchfield had never before been (Fiorot had gone five rounds just once, early in her career). Blanchfield came out swinging, backing Fiorot up. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective, at least somewhat. Blanchfield then changed levels for a takedown, which was stuffed.

Yet despite that early success, Blanchfield still struggled as Manon Fiorot continued to be a step ahead on the feet. Come the end of the round, it was clear Erin was in need of a finish if she wanted to come away from Atlantic City with a win.

Heading into round five, Blanchfield’s corner concurred, at first telling her it was “too hard” to know what was going on with the scoring, before saying she was trailing, and needed a finish. Again, Erin came out and started the round active. Fiorot, however, was undeterred, and it was Blanchfield showing damage around the face. The end of the round saw both ladies get active, knees and fists thrown, but it was Manon Fiorot coming away with a clear win.

Official Result: Manon Fiorot def. Erin Blanchfield by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)