Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Jennifer Maia has a unique opportunity to take a decided step forward in the flyweight division with her late notice fight against Joanne Calderwood, but her first priority will come on Friday during the official weigh-ins.
While the Brazilian has earned impressive wins in the division over Roxanne Modafferi and Alexis Daivs, Maia has also been haunted by a pair of misses on the scale in her two most recent fights.
She came in three pounds over the strawweight limit for her fight with Modafferi and then came in at 1.2 pounds over for her last outing against Katlyn Chookagian.
With a chance to take out the fighter who was supposed to face flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko next, Maia can ill afford another miss this weekend. But she sounds confident that whatever problems have plagued her previously have been put in the past.
“Since my last fight, I changed my nutrition team and changed the team that worked for me and we planned ahead,” Maia said during the UFC virtual media day on Thursday. “So I kept my weight low and changed strategies in the weight cut.
“Now I have close to two kilos (4.4 pounds) to take out until tomorrow. It should be fine and I will make weight.”
If Maia fails to make weight, that not only affects her paycheck, but it also serves as a potential detriment to Calderwood, who’d be facing an opponent who would almost certainly come in heavier than her on fight night.
Add to that, Calderwood took this matchup on extremely short notice, so the risk is that much higher to her as she hopes to eventually challenge for the flyweight title once Shevchenko is healthy enough to compete again.
It may be impossible to ignore Maia’s weight cutting woes until she actually steps onto the scale on Friday morning. But Calderwood is confident she’ll be fighting a flyweight come Saturday night.
“The only concern to me is the whole myth about everyone that misses weight always wins,” Calderwood said with a smile. “Hopefully I would be able to prove that wrong.
“To be honest, I think she’s not fought for nearly a year now so I think she will probably have got her sh*t together and by the looks of it, everyone’s saying she looks in shape. So I trust she’s got her sh*t together and she’s going to make weight.”
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