The Severe Spotlight: Miranda Maverick

Miranda Maverick drew back the curtain on UFC 291. A card consisting of 11 fights, (having lost Wonderboy vs Michel Periera). A card that consisted of only two decisions and a total run time of only 01:32:56.

After her UFC debut Maverick was soldered onto a trident of female prospects, destined to surge through their respective divisions. Maycee Barber and Erin Blanchfield, her companions on the journey. Not all prospects take the same linear line up through the rankings and into the vaulted echelons of sub 5 rankings in the same way. Some take longer, some never get there.

Maverick in her performance against Brazil’s Priscila Cachoeira proved yet again that she is on the right track. Not without her own set of skills to build on, but she displayed a smart, intuitive, and dominant performance.

Round one began with Maverick flaunting both sides of the coin. The footwork, the level change feinting, and the head movement defensively, and the patience in seeing and logging the reactions of her opponent before firing her shots was excellent. The shot selection inside the first couple of minutes was also great, opting for multiple punch combinations, hiding kicks behind strikes, going to the body and the head, kicking to all quadrants.

However, the head movement when entering the pocket is the first and largest thing that needs work, it stays on the centre line and Cachoeira was able to land and land well in those opening exchanges. Against better fighters this will increasingly become a problem as it will supplement away from her overall strategy, takedowns will be riskier to enter on, and her general efficacy in the striking realms will also decrease.

A slip from Maverick lead to the first of three takedowns in this fight – and that is always an overwhelmingly positive stat when mixed with almost nine minutes of control time. When Maverick got the fight down, it stayed down or at the very least it stayed with her in an offensive cycle of chain wrestling. This was something that Khabib Nurmagomedov was revered for; the takedown was simply the gateway to the quicksand control he possessed.

Cachoeira did a good job of posting and heisting her hips after the initial takedown landed, making it difficult for Maverick to collect both legs. Maverick was patient and diligent with her head positioning and continued to work for dominant grips. They came with Cachoeira began to build up to a leg post to support the arm, and Maverick ran the angle to the back bodylock. Returning Cachoeira to the mat and landing damaging shots.

The mixture of positional control and damage really was fantastic, using both a shin pin across the thigh in half guard to keep the bottom leg stuck, having removed the knee shield and committing to a deep underhook, Mavericks left hand was free to land a continuous stream of shots on Cachoeira who increasingly had to make more desperate decisions to regain some position.

Round two was much the same, head movement vastly lacking offensively but the superior grappling had been cemented into the fight and Maverick smartly took advantage of it.  Maverick collected a single leg and ran Cachoeira to the cage. For a moment Cachoeira used a guillotine grip to slow down the US native but Maverick did a fine job of elevating Cachoeira’s left shoulder, making postural disruption very difficult for the Brazilian. An outside trip eventually grounded the Brazilian with Maverick swiftly moving into mount.

The writing was on the wall for the eventual finish, as Cachoeira was posting with stiff arms in the mount, and it was obvious by the cross-wrist clamp grips Maverick was taking that she was searching for the armbar. It didn’t come in the second round, and its poignant to note that Maverick did not try to force the submission, allowing the position and the fight to play out, sticking to the scoring criteria of landing damage.

The third round Maverick was in her stride, a lovely front teep up the middle a high note of the open striking, and a clean right elbow off the clinch break for closed striking after a single leg attempt. Maverick wasted no time after landing the elbow to drive back into the pocket and dumped Cachoeira to the ground and right into north south. She wins the inside frame battle and returns to side control.

The transition to mount from Maverick was full of skilful awareness. Cachoeira attempted to open her hips to drive her left knee underneath the hips of Maverick and off-balance her to begin a guard retrieval. Maverick felt those movement and at the perfect moment capitalised on the open hips to posture and slide into mount. She wastes no time at all latching onto the right arm, sliding into s-mount and dismounting into the armbar. Extremely slick finish from Miranda Maverick.

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