Jennifer Maia hands Casey O’Neill the first defeat of her career at UFC 286
The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to us today, March 18, 2023, for UFC 286, going down live from the o2 Arena in London, England.
Headlining the event is a welterweight championship bout between Leon Edwards (20-3, 1 NC) and Kamaru Usman (20-2), the third time these two squared off inside the octagon.
Co-headlining the event is a lightweight contest between no. 3 ranked former title challenger Justin Gaethje (23-4) and no. 6 ranked fellow knockout artist Rafael Fiziev (12-1).
Our second bout contested on the main card tonight was contested at 125 lbs between no. 8 ranked former title challenger Jennifer Maia (21-9-1) and no. 12 ranked former undefeated phenom Casey O’Neill (9-1).
Maia, a former Invicta FC flyweight champion, had gone 2-2 since challenging Valentina Shevchenko back in 2020, while O’Neill, a former Eternal MMA strawweight champion, had gone 4-0 through her first four promotional bouts.
Continue reading to see how this flyweight clash of contenders went down:
Official Result: Jennifer Maia def. Casey O’Neill via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Both women look good to begin round one; O’Neill is controlling the center, walking Maia down throwing her punches in combination, and Maia is doing a good job of countering with boxing combinations of her own.
The biggest difference through the first five minutes is that Maia is throwing more kicks, a lot of which are landing on the lead leg of O’Neill.
Like the first, much of the second round is spent with O’Neill walking Maia down, yet getting out-struck.
Maia just appears to be the more well versed striker of the two, she’s looking great tonight against a very highly touted prospect with all the potential in the world.
Casey O’Neill did well tonight, but it just wasn’t enough against the former title challenger; this may have been the best performance of Jennifer Maia’s career, it’s up there with her submission victory over Joanne Calderwood. She just handily beat someone many peg to become a future champion.
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.