Two talented strawweights look to be number one contenders this August 23, 2015 at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
The Match Up
Women's Strawweight Maryna Moroz 6-0 vs. Valérie Létourneau 7-3
Women's Strawweight Maryna Moroz -185 vs. Valérie Létourneau +160
3 Things You Should Know
1. Don't let Maryna Moroz's thorough win over Joanna Calderwood fool you. She's better than said victory would indicate.
I know that's a bit harsh on JoJo, but I can't exactly apologize for it. Calderwood isn't a good measuring stick for where an actual contender might be, and right now Moroz is playing the part. She's undefeated, and only 23 years old while displaying the kind of exciting style that fans love. Her opponent is no cake walk, however.
2. Letourneau has one of the most bizarre and polarizing looking records in prizefighting. It's difficult to gauge her value where it's both overstated, and understated at once. But she deserves respect.
A lot of people know Letourneau from TUF, in which she lost to Roxanne Modafferi; a fighter who had been on the decline when Valeri lost to her. Needless to say, it doesn't look good on the surface. However, the 32 year old also has a competitive loss to Claudia Gadelha, and what could have been a career defining win with a little more luck against Sarah Kaufman.
She's won both of her UFC bouts. Who is the real Valerie Letourneau?
3. This fight is competitive at range, but one sided in specific circumstances.
Letourneau is obviously a bit of both, neither the sum of her bad losses, nor the sum of her competitive moments. The best thing she has going for her is her head kick. I don't even know how to explain it. It's not even some signature strike. It's just something toss out at random times and when it lands, it lands with vigor.
She's got solid power in her hands, stringing together confident combinations down the pocket that should be able to get through Moroz' defense. Early Moroz would have had seriously trouble, but she's clearly growing. I predicted Calderwood to beat Moroz because it was difficult to look at Moroz' early work and think she could handle Calderwood's power once she got going. It obviously looks stupid in retrospect, but Moroz had always carried a kind of reflexive, by the numbers striking game that I couldn't evaluate.
The hardest thing about judging a fighter's skill is when the skill is on display against skilless fighters. Moroz showed against Calderwood that she's becoming a lot more comfortable on the feet in a way that is very similar to Claudia Gadelha's trajectory. Her striking is no longer just a trick of support. It's an element of her game she can use to threaten beyond simply what she can do on the ground. Letourneau has always had trouble on the ground, so even though I think she'll find some early success against Moroz on the feet, I expect Moroz to get her on her back at some point.
Maryna Moroz by Armbar, round 2