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Welcome to the UFC, Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger

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A new strawweight is on her way to the Zuffa ranks, with the announced singing of a replacement fighter for the injured Michelle Waterson at UFC 194.

The Women's strawweight division has already outstripped its 135 lb counterpart in terms of talent acquisition and potential future development. While Zuffa finds itself scouring the globe for whatever bantamweight fighters can possibly be gleaned from it's far flung corners, there seems to be a new strawweight fighter knocking on the door whenever one is needed. To that effect, it's time to welcome the promotion's latest 115 lb fighter, Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger, who steps in for the injured Michelle Waterson against Tecia Torres at UFC 194. The UFC made the signing official via press release, so...

Who is Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger?

"Lights Out" as she is also known, is a 30-year old strawweight who made her pro debut at flyweight back at Invicta FC 2 and has since become an RFA staple and the promotion's first ever woman champion. She trains out of the MMA Lab; host to a wealth of UFC talent at this point, including Benson Henderson, Jon Tuck, along with many many others. She'll be entering the big show with a 6-1 pro record, her only loss a decision to Sarah Alpar back in 2013. Since then she's reeled off four straight wins including wins over rising talent Rebecca Ruth and longtime seasoned vet Zoila Frausto. Jones-Lybarger was a college basketball player before making the transition to MMA.

What you should expect:

Somewhat like Angela Hill, Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger's (henceforth JJL) game is fundamentally solid, if a bit unexciting. She's a big, powerful athlete for the division with reasonably strong form on her punches. But, a lot of what she does is really predicated on being the bigger, stronger, and harder hitting fighter in the cage. She moves her head off line from time to time as she's exchanging, but mostly gets by on the fact that she tends to be comfortable sitting down in the pocket and can attack with a nice variety of punches. She's got a decent straight 1-2 and mixes in uppercuts and hooks well as needed. When she gets the chance, she does some good work with knees from the clinch, but a lot of that seems really dependent on how much control her opponent gives her, rather than a nuanced clinch offense.

In terms of wrestling, she's more of a wall-n-stall fighter than anything, tending to wear opponents down with a grinding attack against the fence. She can hit the occasional power/slam takedown, but it's all predicated on her being able to out-muscle her opposition. Her defensive game doesn't appear to be much more nuanced and she's been caught off guard with reactive takedowns and put on her back with relative ease in past fights. She's got a good defensive grappling game off her back and seems to scramble decently, however. And when she gets top control has a very position-oriented, lock-down style.

What this means for her debut:

Against Tecia Torres, on short notice? Probably a loss. I expect we'll see something of the Torres that fought Angela Hill to a reasonably uninspiring decision win, as JJL has an incredibly similar game to Hill. Torres' offensive wrestling work has really been coming along well, and it seems like she's leaning on it more and more against opponents that she can't just out work standing. Given that I think JJL will give up kicking range as well (she doesn't seem to kick at all, or deal well with being kicked), the only place that she might hope to stay on even footing with Torres will be in the pocket, which will set her up nicely to be hit with Torres' power double-leg. Even if she can get back to her feet from there, I don't think that she'll be able to control enough of the fight to win rounds.

To get us better acquainted, here's her last fight, against Zoila Frausto-Gurgel for the RFA title: